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Marcelijus Martinaitis, author of fifteen collections of poetry and five collections of essays, was born in 1936 in western Lithuania. After an education disrupted by first Soviet then Nazi occupation, he graduated from Vilnius University and worked as a journalist, editor and university tutor until he retired in 2002. In 1998 he received the Lithuanian National Award in Literature, the highest honour bestowed upon a Lithuanian writer. During the late 80s and early 90s, he actively participated in Lithuania’s struggle to regain its independence from the Soviet Union.