Marinko Koščec: Excerpt from Searching for the Beginning of a Circle

Marinko Koščec holds a PhD in Literature from the University of Zagreb. He's written seven novels, several of which have won prestigious regional awards. He is a professor of French Literature at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb. He worked for several years as an editor for the Zagreb publishing house, SySprint. He has translated several French novels, taught workshops on translating and currently teaches novel writing at CeKaPe (the Center for Creative Writing).

The passage below from Koščec’s book, Searching for the Beginning of a Circle, is a domestic scene, an intimate contemplation on the modern way of life that will make you reexamine your relationship with health food and will probably make you laugh as well. In a more serious vein, it may just make you peer beneath the veneer of modern day trends and obsessions to see what lies beneath. As Koščec put it in an interview, explaining the title of his book: “We began from nothing and we’ll become nothing; life journeys are by necessity circular.” (Koščec, Marinko. Interviewed by Ivana Čulić,, 19.1.2017).

Read an excerpt from Koščec’s novel, Searching for the Beginning of a Circle below.
Translation by Vesna Maric


Edo Popović: Excerpt from Zagreb, Exit South

Beginning with the publication of his iconic debut novel, Ponočni Boogie (1987) (Midnight Boogie), Popović has published multiple novels, collections of short stories and essays in his three decades long career. He co-founded the esteemed literary magazine, Quorum, as well as the Festival of Alternative Literature (FAK).

In his book, Zagreb, Exit South (2005), Popović breathes new life into the clichéd mid-life crisis. Through the eyes of the protagonist, Baba, a washed-up reporter living in Zagreb and trapped in a dysfunctional coexistence with his wife rather than a marriage, he reflects on a changed system and what it means for the average person.

Read an excerpt from Popović's novel below.
Translation by Julienne Eden Bušić


A Literary Road Trip: The 2018 Litlink Festival in Croatia (from Words Without Borders)

Just days before Croatia’s incredible performance in the 2018 World Cup, the sixth annual edition of the Croatian Litlink Festival brought together authors and publishers for a literary road trip that included readings in the cities of Pula, Rijeka, and Zagreb. Past guests have included Heidi Julavits, Sheila Heti, Tao Lin, and David Szalay. This year’s participants mostly came from the US and included Nell Zink, Catherine Lacey, Jesse Ball, Elijah Wald, Ashley Nelson Levy, Peter Blackstock, Janika Rüter, Buzz Poole, Olivia Snaije...


Daša Drndić Dies

The award-winning, critically acclaimed Croatian novelist, Daša Drndić passed away this June in Rijeka at the age of 71. She boldly took on difficult subject matter in her novels from fascism to cancer. Her novel Sonnenschein (2007) won multiple awards in Croatia and the English translation (Trieste) was shortlisted for an international literary prize, as was her novel Belladonna (2012). Holding a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Philology from the University of Belgrade, a Master’s Degree in Theater and Communications from Case Western University and a PhD from the University of Rijeka, her career was long and varied. She was a novelist, a playwright, an editor, a literary critic, a translator, she worked for twenty years as a writer, producer and editor for Radio Belgrade and wrote more than thirty radio plays and fifteen features. She taught Modern British Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Rijeka. Her writing has been published in numerous literary magazines and her books, thirteen in total, have been translated into multiple languages. Read a poignant tribute to her and her work in the Guardian.


Gordan Nuhanović: The First and The Last Punker

Gordan Nuhanović (1968, Vinkovci) was a longtime reporter for multiple, well-respected Croatian journals and newspapers. He has written four collections of short stories and three novels.

Cafés are so prevalent in Croatia that it is genuinely difficult to walk more than a few blocks in any city without seeing at least one. Ask any city resident what their favorite café is and they will have a ready answer. Serving up all kinds of coffee and alcohol, they are considered a hub of social life. So it follows that waiters serve an invaluable function in Croatian society and tend to witness a wide spectrum of humanity on a daily basis.

Nuhanović’s short story, which is equal parts quirky and clever, steps into the shoes of one such waiter whose boss has an unusual fixation on keeping a certain segment of the population out of his café at all costs: the punks.

Read Nuhanović’s The First and Last Punker below.
Translation by Julienne Eden Bušić.


Sanja Pilić: Ah, Madhouse

Sanja Pilić, born in Split in 1954, is a celebrated author whose work mostly consists of literature for children and young adults. She has won numerous awards for her work including the Matko Lovrak award for the best children’s novel in 2007 for Što mi se to događa (What’s Happening to Me). She has published thirty-three books so far and one of her novels for teens was turned into a play. Her stories and books have been translated into many different languages.

In her short story, Ah Madhouse, Pilić breathes life into her characters using vivid imagery and rich descriptions as she gracefully explores the boundary between sanity and insanity.

Read Pilić’s story, which won the second place prize for best short story in the daily national newspaper’s (Večernji List) competition in 1981, below. Translation by Vera Andrassy.


Courtney Angela Brkić: Crossing the Rio Grande

Courtney Angela Brkić is an American author of Croatian descent. She has degrees in both archaeology and writing. Her writing is influenced by her family’s history as well as her work in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina as a forensic archaeologist and at the United Nations International War Crimes Tribunal. Her work includes a collection of short stories, Stillness: and Other Stories (2003), a memoir, The Stone Fields (2004), and a novel, The First Rule of Swimming (2013).

In her short story about a family road trip across the U.S., Crossing the Rio Grande, Brkić deftly explores the contradictions inherent to the immigrant experience, as seen through the eyes of a Bosnian refugee. The protagonist’s vision of a romanticized American West, fuelled in part by a popular German cowboy book series he read as a child, conflicts with the realities he encounters on the problem-filled cross-country road trip he takes with his family in tow. The divide between his childhood fantasies of the freedom the Wild West promises and his experience as a foreigner in rural America further deepens with each additional mile traveled.

Read Brkić’s short story below in the original English.


Branko Čegec: 20th Century Fox

Branko Čegec, born in Kraljev vrh in 1957, is a leading figure in the Croatian poetry and literary scenes. Čegec holds a degree in South Slavic Studies and Comparative Literature from the University of Zagreb. He has published numerous volumes of poetry, including several award winning ones, as well as collections of essays and fiction. His poetry has been included in many Croatian as well as international anthologies and has also been translated into multiple languages. He served as the chairman for Croatia’s esteemed poetry festival, Goranovo proljeće (Goran’s Spring), from 1999 to 2007. He was a highly respected editor of the renowned literary magazine Quorum for years and is the founder and current editor-in-chief at the publishing house, Meandar.

Čegec’s vivid imagery and playful style thrust the reader into his unique and complex world. Read his poetry in the link below.
Translation by Stipe Grgas.


Ivica Prtenjača: Selected Poems

Ivica Prtenjača (b. 1969) was born and raised in the coastal city of Rijeka. He holds a degree in Croatian Language and Literature from the University of Rijeka. Prtenjača has published three novels: Tiho rušenje (2017) (Quiet Collapse), Brdo (2014) (The Hill), and Dobro je, lijepo je (2006) (It’s Good, It’s Nice). He has also written several collections of short stories, a play and numerous volumes of poetry. Prtenjača's work has received various awards and his prose and poetry have been translated into into twenty different languages.

In a recent interview, Prtenjača described how his journey as a writer began with the feverish consumption of all the volumes of poetry he could get his hands on as a young student in Rijeka. His first, equally passionate attempts at poetry were all discarded, but he says that the early passion and energy he had for writing and reading can still be found in his work today. Prtenjača further says, “My goal is to write, grow and seek what I’m not sure yet exists. And find it in the end.” (Prtenjača, Ivica. Interviewed by Siniša Pavić,, 9.7.2017).

Read a selection of his poems below.
Translation by Stipe Grgas.


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


Evelina Rudan: blue vitriol

Evelina Rudan, born in 1971, was raised on the Adriatic coast, in the city of Pula. She earned her degree in Croatian Studies and Southern Slavic Philology from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Zagreb. Rudan also holds a PhD in oral languages from her alma mater and now teaches there, in the Croatian Studies Department. She was the 2007 recipient of the Drago Gervais prize, awarded for her manuscript collection of poems: Breki and Ćuki. She has published many collections of poetry, including: Breki i Ćuki (2008) (Dogs and Owls), Pristojne ptice (2008) (Decent Birds), Uvjerljiv vrt (2003) (A Convincing Garden), Posljednja topla noć (2002, along with coauthors Slađan Lipovec and Denis Peričić) (The Last Warm Night) and Sve ča mi rabi ovega prolića (2000) (All I Need This Spring). All of her poetry collections are written in both standard Croatian and in the Chakavian dialect. Most recently she has published a monography, Vile s Učke. Žanr, kontekst, izvedba i nadnaravna bića predaja (2016) (Fairies from Učka. Genre, context, performance and supernatural Beings of Legends). She also wrote the picturebook, Little Prince’s Dream (2010), which was illustrated by Sven Nemet. Her poems have been translated into various Slavic and European languages.

Read her picturesque poem about wine country below.
Translation by Hana Dada Banak.


Dubravka Ugrešić Wins Tportal Award for Her Novel Fox

Renowned Croatian author, Dubravka Ugrešić, has won this year's Tportal award for best novel of the year.


Interview with Ivana Bodrožić

Ivana Bodrožić earned great acclaim in Croatia with her debut novel, Hotel Zagorje (The Hotel Tito) (2010). Her moving, coming of age novel is also deeply personal since it is partially based on Bodrožić’s experience as a child refugee during the war in Croatia in the early 90s. Her book struck a chord internationally as well and has been translated into ten languages. Read an interview with Bodrožić below in which she discusses how the novel came about as well as her perspective on the widespread refugee crises occurring in the world today.


A Review of Robert Perišić's No-Signal Area from Versopolis

Robert Perišić’s much anticipated second novel enjoyed a great critical reception in Croatia. He takes on complex subject matter firmly rooted in this region, but which also has far-reaching connections to other parts of the globe. Read Ivana Rogar's review of Perišić’s clever and ambitious novel, No-Signal Area, below.


Discover Professor Balthazar

If you’ve never experienced the magical world of the kindly and clever Professor Balthazar, then it’s about time you do. The popular children’s cartoon character, originally created by Zlatko Grgić of the famous Zagreb Film Animation studio, was a favorite of Yugoslavian children in the 1970s.The show was recently re-released and dubbed into English for children of all ages of enjoy.


A Brief Intro to Yugoslav Queer Culture from the Balkanist

1980s Yuglosavian queer culture was a thing? Check out the history of gay culture in Yugoslavia and the bands that were at the forefront of it in the article below.


The History of Science and Fantasy Fiction in Croatia

According to Milena Benini, science and fantasy fiction has a long and unusual history in Croatia. Many women authors are among the most well-known and prominent in the genre.


Daša Drndić's Belladonna Shortlisted for First EBRD Prize

The new prize, awarded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, honors excellent English translations of books from countries where the bank operates- a vast stretch of land spanning from Central Europe to Central Asia. Dasa Drndic’s Belladonna, translated by Celia Hawkesworth, was shortlisted along with the Nobel Prize winner, Orhan Pamuk’s Red Woman. Tea Tulic’s novel, Hair Everywhere, which was translated by Coral Petkovich was longlisted for the prize. The 20,000 euro prize is split evenly between author and translator as the award intends to encourage more high quality English translations of authors from these regions. The winner will be announced in April, 2018.


Zagreb's Socialist Urbanism

The delightful pastel colors of Zagreb’s Austo-Hungarian era buildings in the historical downtown are usually what grabs tourists’ attention. However, savvier visitors who want to experience the whole city should not neglect the most obvious remnant of Zagreb’s socialist past- its Brutalist architecture. Some cultural icons from Yugoslavia have also endured the test of time from beloved brands that can still be found in stores today to music from the vibrant rock scene of the 70s and 80s. The truly adventurous can even step back in time in the odd café or restaurant in Zagreb that hasn’t yet abandoned its socialist roots.


Damir Karakaš wins Fric Award

On Tuesday, December 19, 2017 the literary Friz Award Ceremony was held in the Foyer of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. The award was granted to Damir Karakaš for his novel, Memories of a Forest.
The Fric Award which takes its name from Miroslav Krleža's nickname was launched by the weekly magazine Express with the desire to position it as an award for literary works that in their widest sense reflect contemporaneity.


Anita Pajević: Four Poems

Anita Pajević (b. 1989) is from Mostar. She holds a bachelor's degree in Croatian Language and Literature from the University of Mostar. She earned the first place Mak Dizdar award for the best unpublished poetry manuscript in 2015. Her collection of poems, Perlinov šum (2016) (Perlin’s Noise), won the second place award from the Foundation of Nijaz Slipičević.


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.


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.


Jonathon Bousfield on the Heyday of the Iconic Yugoslav Record Label, Jugoton

Jonathon Bousfield recounts the rise of Jugoton, the iconic Zagreb-based Yugoslavian record label that both brought Western music to Yugoslavia and later was at the forefront of the massive post-punk and new wave scenes in the region.


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.


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.


How to Spend a Spring Day in Zagreb

Wondering where to start exploring Croatia’s small but vibrant capital city, Zagreb? Check out Time Out’s list of must sees in Zagreb from the most famous market in town to where to sample the best rakija (local brandy).


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.


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.


Nikola Tesla – Mind from the Future - Multimedia Exhibition in Zagreb

A spectacular multimedia exhibition honouring Nikola Tesla, one of the world’s greatest visionaries, titled ‘Nikola Tesla – Mind from the Future’, will stay open until 20 March 2018.
“Immersed into the magical world of the genius Nikola Tesla, by merging the elements of a ‘live’ film, video set design, computer game, and magical hologram and light adventure into a unique multimedia experience of extended reality, with this exhibition we seek to take you on a contemplative ‘journey’ without beginning or end, through a process of inspiration, creativity and production.” - Helena Bulaja Madunić, exhibition author


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.


Great films shot in Zagreb

There's a surprising raft of indelible productions shot in and around Croatia's capital, like the world-dominating spy-caper 'James Bond: From Russia with Love' and Orson Welles' interpretation of Kafka's absurd, existentialist novel 'The Trial'...


LitLink Thoughts. The Publisher's View by Mitch Albert, Periscope Books.

The curation of a festival of literature naturally entails the “curation” of its participants. Lit Link excelled in this regard – the authors invited from the UK represented a very fine, accomplished tranche of contemporary British writing, and the publishers, for the most part, represented a scrappy, independent ethos and pride in advancing thought-provoking fiction and literary fiction in translation.


LitLink. The Editor's View. By: Anna Kelly

As far as I know, LitLink festival is unique. Each year it takes a group of writers and publishers to three Croatian cities – Pula, Rijeka, and Zagreb – for a series of evening readings. Along the way there are coach journeys on winding roads, stunning vistas of deep green fields and icy mountains, excellent Croatian wine and food, sea swimming, plenty of book chat...


A very rough guide to LitLink. The Author's View. By: Joanna Kavenna

Each night there is a bilingual Croatian-English event. Translations are projected behind the writers as they read. It becomes apparent that many contemporary Croatian writers are high ironists, forging dark comedy from aspects of life that most disturb them – war, corruption, the riotous hypocrisy of those who claim to govern us.
The tour runs from Zagreb to Pula to Rijeka...


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.


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.


Zagreb Festivals and Cultural Events

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

Authors' pages

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