È nato a Lushnjë, in Albania, nel 1967. Nel gennaio del 1991, dopo la caduta del regime totalitario albanese, ha raggiunto la Grecia a piedi insieme ad altri migranti. Per sopravvivere vi ha svolto tutti i mestieri: manovale, lavapiatti, edicolante. Si è laureato in lettere presso l’Università Statale Giovanni Capodistria di Atene e ha svolto la tesi di dottorato presso l’Università Pantio di Atene, dove ha anche insegnato Storia e Cultura dell’Albania moderna. È stato editorialista dell’autorevole quotidiano ateniese “Ta Nea”. Nel 2012 è stato Fellow del Radcliffe Institute dell’Università di Harvard. Vive tra l’Europa e gli Stati Uniti, dove insegna Letteratura e Storia europea.
Gazmend Kapllani is an Albanian-born journalist, poet, and writer. His works of fiction, A Short Border Handbook (Portobello Books, 2009) and My Name is Europe [in Greek] (Livanis, 2010), explore how totalitarianism, immigration, borders, and Balkan history have shaped private lives and personal narratives. He has been living in Greece for the past 20 years and writing his novels in Greek, which is not his mother tongue. Kapllani's best-selling novel A Short Border Handbook has been translated into Danish, English, French, and Polish, receiving excellent reviews in major European newspapers and magazines such as the British dailies the Independent and the Guardian and the French magazine Marianne. It was also short-listed for the London-based John D. Criticos Prize. His second novel, My Name is Europe, has been highly acclaimed by the Greek press and will be published in French by December 2012. He received his PhD in political science and history from Panteion University in Athens, with a dissertation on the image of Albanians in the Greek press and of Greeks in the Albanian press. Through his work as an author and a columnist for leading Greek newspapers, Kapllani has been an advocate for human rights, fairness, and diversity, receiving Greek and international recognition.