Kundera is the son of a famous pianist and was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia. He joined the Communist Party when he was eighteen, but was expelled from the party two years later. He settled in Prague, where he worked as a musician, writer and film-maker. He was appointed a Professor in the Film Faculty of the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. He has published three collections of poetry, a book of essays, short stories and several plays and his novel "The Joke" sold 120,000 copies. It did not amuse the authorities, however, and after the Soviet invasion Kundera lost his job and his books were banned and removed from public libraries.