Olja Savičević Ivančević

Olja Savičević Ivančević undoubtedly belongs to a group of the best Croatian contemporary authors of a younger generation. Her narrative style, vocabulary, plot structuring, construction of figures and types, basically all aspects of her literary expertise have been praised by acclaimed critics in Croatia, Serbia, Germany and elsewhere.


Olja Savičević Ivančević, a freelance writer, poet and columnist, was born 1974 in Split, Croatia where she also lives and works. She holds a BA in Croatian Language and Literature from the University of Zadar, Croatia. Olja has been writing poetry since she was a teenager and has published several collections of poems: Bit će strašno kada ja porastem/It Will Be Tremendous When I Grow Up (1988), Vječna djeca/Eternal Kids (1993), Žensko pismo/Female Manuscripts (1999), and Kućna pravila/House Rules (2007, 2009) which won a “Kiklop” prize in Croatia. For her collection of short stories Nasmijati psa/To Make a Dog Laugh/Augustschnee (2006) Olja received the Croatian prize “Vijenac” for the best new prose work of 2006 and 2007, and the “Ranko Marinković” short-story prize. Several of the stories have also been made into short films. Her novel Adio kauboju/Adios Cowboy/Lebt wohl, Cowboy (2010) which plays with the genre of spaghetti western and is a merciless portrait of today’s corrupted social reality in Croatia won the “roman@tportal.hr” award for the best novel as well as the “Jure Kaštelan” award by the newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija. Olja’s work has been included in a number of anthologies and selections, and her writing has been translated into German, Czech, Italian, Slovenian, French, English, Slovak, Macedonian, Polish, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Ukrainian and the Zulu language. www.schruf.de/text_savicevic.html

 

  The Croatian contemporary literary landscape is very fruitful, creative and full of aesthetic surpluses. In addition, there are also several socially and politically engaged (women) authors who continually and mercilessly attack nationalism, war crimes, historical amnesia, chauvinism, and corruption in spite of making themselves, by doing that, a black sheep or even worse. Olja Savičević Ivančević doubtlessly belongs to a group of the best Croatian contemporary authors of a younger generation. Her narrative style, vocabulary, plot structuring, construction of figures and types, basically all aspects of her literary expertise have been praised by acclaimed critics in Croatia, Serbia, Germany and elsewhere. Olja is seen as a representative of the so-called ‘lost generation’ writing for the ‘lost generation’: “Ever since we became conscious beings we’ve been waiting for some kind of a normal life, but it hasn’t arrived yet. In the meantime we’ve had some good times and some fun times, and of course we partied, fell in love, travelled, read and listened to good music, but we have never lived in a normal and more or less well-ordered society.” (Olja Savičević Ivančević)

 

info/fun page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Olja-Savičević-Ivančević/137190962962511

 




Olja Savičević Ivančević: Excerpt from Singer in the Night

Olja Savičević Ivančević, born in Split in 1974, holds a degree in Croatian Language and Literature from the University of Zadar. She has written multiple volumes of poetry, a collection of short stories Nasmijati psa (2006) (To Make a Dog Laugh) and two novels, Adios, Kauboj (2011) (Adios, Cowboy) and Pjevač u Noći (2016) (Singer in the Night). Her work has been praised by critics and the public alike: she's received multiple awards for her poetry and short stories and her novel Adios, Cowboy received the prestigious tportal award for best novel of the year in 2011. Adios, Cowboy was also adapted into a play which enjoyed an excellent reception.

In her novel, Singer in the Night, the war veteran protagonist's experiences and attitudes towards war are subtly and gracefully touched upon through his present day experiences that trigger flashbacks to significant moments in his time as a soldier. The reader gets a sense of what a master storyteller Olja Savičević Ivančevic is as she skillfully blends the protagonist’s present day feelings with his contemplations on his internal state in the past in a shockingly natural way.

Read an excerpt from Olja Savičević Ivančević’s novel, Singer in the Night, below.
Translation by Celia Hawkesworth.

Olja Savičević Ivančević: Two Poems

Olja Savičević Ivančević is a prolific author whose work has garnered her much critical praise as well as awards. Read two of her poems below, which explore the depth and complexities of motherhood from the vantage point of both the child and the mother.

Translation by Andrea Jurčević

To Make The Dog Laugh

Olja Savičević Ivančević
Nasmijati psa, short stories, 132 pp., AGM, Croatia 2006

Nasmijati psa (To Make the Dog Laugh) is a collection of twenty-two short stories of different genres that deal with seemingly ordinary themes such as relationships between men and women, fringe groups, growing up, love, sickness, ageing and death. Savičević tells her stories with a casual precision, with sensitivity and sometimes spite, often with surprising turns or poetic flourishes, but she is always a master of observation. Ultimately there is a lot more to these "ordinary" stories than meets the eye.

"A colourful and bold book by a daring, imaginative author. The boisterous and unbridled style, vibrant with emotion, is topped off by many a beautiful ending. You put her down, glowing, and think: Wow! That's what you call literature."
Deutschlandfunk

"The Croatian writer Olja Savičević enshrouds our senses with her captivating short stories about breast cancer, anorexia and enslavement. She does not deliberately evoke the gravity of these issues, yet they creep into our consciousness. Suddenly we lost in this mesmerising mist and cannot escape. Nor do we want to."
blond

Adios, Cowboy

Novel "Adios, Cowboy" by Olja Savičević Ivančević follows Dada who returns to her home town, in a suburb, in Mediterranean Dalmatia, where her brother Danijel committed suicide four years ago because of anti-gay bullying...

"… a wild ride through the dusty streets of a coastal city in Dalmatia; clouds of memories are stirred up and verbal hot lead fills the air. The dust settles to reveal a subtle and cleverly crafted family story, which revolves around a pervasive past waiting to be addressed."
Wortlandschaften

Look inside sample translation of the novel translated by Tatjana Jambrišak.

Farewell, Cowboy by Olja Savičević review - coming of age in small-town Croatia

THE GUARDIAN, Sat, 9 May 2015
by: Kapka Kassabova

The publication of this dazzling, funny and deadly serious novel will bring nourishment to readers hungry for the best new European fiction... With this novel, which lodges itself in your chest like a friendly bullet, a glorious new European voice has arrived.

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Istria Through a Literary Lens

It’s not hard to feel the pull of the glistening Adriatic in these especially hot summer months. Istria exerts a special magnetic pull with its rolling, green Tuscanesque hills, stunning historical towns, not to mention excellent seafood and local cuisine washed down with Malvazija wine, numerous blue flag beaches with crystal clear water and of course proximity to Zagreb.

Jonathon Bousfield as usual takes a look at Istria with a touch more depth and sophistication than the average visitor, inviting readers to observe it through the immortal words of famous writers who have some kind of connection to the peninsula.

Read Bousfield’s literary guide to Istria in the link below.

review

Review of Daša Drndić's Belladonna

One of Croatia's brightest literary stars who sadly passed away last year left a trove of brilliant writing as her legacy. Read a review of Daša Drndić's novel, Belladonna (2012), in the link below.

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Zagreb's Street Art

So you're visiting Zagreb and are curious about it's underground art scene? Check out this guide to Zagreb's street art and explore all the best graffiti artists' work for yourself on your next walk through the city.

interview

An Interview with Olja Savičević Ivančević

Step into the award-winning author Olja Savičević Ivančević’s world as she peels away the many layers of her hometown Split and all of Dalmatia in the interview below.

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Zagreb's Amazing Daughters

International Women’s Day offers the opportunity to reflect on amazing women that have made a lasting impression on the world. But recognizing the important ways women shape and impact our world shouldn’t be limited to one day out of the year. Check out some of Zagreb’s most memorable women in the link below.

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Untranslatable Croatian Phrases

What’s the best way for an open-minded foreigner to get straight to the heart of another culture and get a feel for what makes people tick? Don’t just sample the local food and drink and see the major sights, perk up your ears and listen. There’s nothing that gives away the local flavor of a culture more than the common phrases people use, especially ones that have no direct translation.

Check out a quirky list of untranslatable Croatian phrases from Croatian cultural guide extraordinaire, Andrea Pisac, in the link below:

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Jonathon Bousfield on the Museum of Broken Relationships

Just got out of a serious relationship and don't know what to do with all those keepsakes and mementos of your former loved one? The very popular and probably most unique museum in Zagreb, the Museum of Broken Relationships, dedicated to preserving keepsakes alongside the diverse stories of relationships gone wrong, will gladly take them. Find out how the museum got started and take an in-depth look at some of its quirkiest pieces in the link below.

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The Lasting Impact of the 1980s on Zagreb

Find out how the 1980s, which saw the pinnacle of the domestic music scene, uncertain and rapidly changing political circumstances, and a more open and critical media, shaped the soul of modern-day Zagreb.

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Cool Things To Do in Zagreb

Zagreb is Croatia’s relaxed, charming and pedestrian-friendly capital. Check out Time Out’s definitive Zagreb guide for a diverse set of options of what to explore in the city from unusual museums to legendary flea markets and everything in between.

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Jonathan Bousfield on Diocletian's Legacy in Split

Diocletian’s Palace is the main attraction in Split, the heart and soul of the city. Because of the palace, Split’s city center can be described as a living museum and it draws in the thousands of tourists that visit the city annually. But how much do we really know about the palace’s namesake who built it, the last ruler of a receding empire? Jonathan Bousfield contends that history only gives us a partial answer.

interview

The Poetry of Zagreb

Cities have served as sources of inspiration, frustration, and discovery for millennia. The subject of sonnets, stories, plays, the power centers of entire cultures, hotbeds of innovation, and the cause of wars, cities are mainstays of the present and the future with millions more people flocking to them every year.

Let the poet, Zagreb native Tomica Bajsić, take you on a lyrical tour of the city. Walk the streets conjured by his graceful words and take in the gentle beauty of the Zagreb of his childhood memories and present day observation.

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Jonathon Bousfield's Take on the Croatian Cultural Landscape in 2018

What could possibly tie together island musicals, political thrillers, 60s Yugoslavian culture, contemporary Croatian authors, graphic novels set amongst a backdrop of urban decay, Le Cobustier inspired architecture and a classic 20th century author’s firsthand account of 1920s Russia? Proving that he really does have his finger on the pulse of Croatian’s cultural scene, Jonathon Bousfield expounds on all of this and more in his 2018 Croatian Cultural Guide, check it out in the link below.

review

Jonathon Bousfield Reviews the English Translation of Krleža's Journey to Russia

Krleža, a giant of 20th century European literature, is woefully undertranslated into English. Read Jonathon Bousfield’s compelling review of the master Krleza’s part travelogue, part prose account of the time he spent in Russia as a young man in the mid-1920s, Journey to Russia, which is accessible to English readers for the first time.

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Mirogoj Cemetery: An Architectural Jewel

Going to a cemetery may not be the first idea that pops into your mind when visiting a new city. But the stunning Mirogoj cemetery in Zagreb, which was designed by the renowned Austrian architect, Herman Bolle, is definitely worth a bit of your time. Read more below to find out why.

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You Haven't Experienced Zagreb if You Haven't Been to the Dolac Market

Dolac, the main city market, is a Zagreb institution. Selling all the fresh ingredients you need to whip up a fabulous dinner, from fruits and vegetables to fish, meat and homemade cheese and sausages, the sellers come from all over Croatia. Positioned right above the main square, the colorful market is a beacon of a simpler way of life and is just as bustling as it was a century ago.

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Croatian Phrases Translated into English

Do you find phrases and sayings give personality and flair to a language? Have you ever pondered how the culture and history of a place shape the common phrases? Check out some common sayings in Croatian with their literal translations and actual meanings below.

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Discover Croatia's Archaeological Secrets

Discover Croatia’s rich archaeological secrets, from the well known ancient Roman city of Salona near Split or the Neanderthal museum in Krapina to the often overlooked Andautonia Archaeological Park, just outside of Zagreb, which boasts the excavated ruins of a Roman town or the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe, Vinkovci.

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Hollywood and Dubrovnik

The medieval city in Croatia is having a geek-culture moment as the setting for King’s Landing in the HBO series “Game of Thrones”.
Hollywood seems to have discovered Dubrovnik. Parts of The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the Star Wars saga, also take place in the fortress town. Filming wrapped this year on a new Robin Hood film starring Taron Eagerton, Jamie Foxx, and Jamie Dornan (and produced by Leonard DiCaprio). The 25th James Bond film is reported to begin shooting in the city in January 2018.
But not everyone appreciates all the attention.

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Croatian Sites on UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

A little know fact is that Croatia, together with Spain, have the most cultural and historical heritage under the protection of UNESCO, and Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO intangible goods of any European country.

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Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb

The National Theater in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, is one of those things which always finds its way to every visitor’s busy schedule.

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Zagreb Festivals and Cultural Events

Numerous festivals, shows and exhibitions are held annually in Zagreb. Search our what's on guide to arts & entertainment.

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