prose

Josip Mlakić: Like in That Film

Josip Mlakić was born in Bugojnu, Bosnia and Hercegovina in 1964. He completed his degree in engineering at the University of Sarajevo. Mlakić is a prolific and multiple award-winning author who has published ten novels, three collections of short stories and a collection of poetry: Puževa kučica (1997) (The Snail’s Little House), Kad Magle Stanu (2000) (When the Fog Lifts), Odraz u Vodi (2002) (The Reflection in the Water), Obiteljska Slika (2002) (A Family Photograph), Živi i Mrtvi (2002) (The Living and the Dead), Čuvari mostova (2004) (Guardians of Bridges), Oči androida (2004) (An Android’s Eyes), Ponoćno sivo (2004) (Midnight Gray), Psi i klaunovi (2004) (Dogs and Clowns), Tragom zmijske košuljice (2007) (Following the Trail of a Snake’s Skin), Ljudi koji su sadili drveće (2010) (The Man Who Planted Trees), Mrtve ribe plivaju na leđima (2011) (Dead Fish Float on their Backs), Planet Friedman (2012), Božji gnjev (2014) (God’s Rage), Svježe obojeno (2014) (Freshly Painted), Bezdan (2016) (Chasm).

His novel Živi i Mrtvi (2002) (The Living and the Dead) was turned into an award-winning film, which he wrote the screenplay for.

The feelings and impressions evoked by Mlakić’s short story, Like in That Film, will stay with you, just like the image of cranes in the sky. Read it in the link below.
Translation by Celia Hawkesworth.

prose

Hrvoje Ivančić: The Red Wedding Dress

Hrvoje Ivančić was born in 1983 in Zabok. He completed his degree in history at the University of Zagreb. He’s authored a travelogue, a novel and a collection of short stories: Dunavski blues (2011) (The Danube blues), Samsara: Put na istok (2014)(Samsara: Passage to the East), Za’atar: Priče s bliskog istoka (2016) (Za’atar: Stories from the Middle East). He’s also written a number of articles about his travels to Africa and the Middle East and has appeared on travel television programs.

Asked about his travels to war-torn countries, like Syria, Ivančić responded in an interview, “It’s the fate of the human species that one world is continually crumbling as a new one emerges.” (Ivančić, Hrvoje. Interviewed by Ana Đokić, Moderna vremena, 14.06.2017)

Read Ivančić’s short story, The Red Wedding Dress, from his book Za’atar in the link below.
Translation by Janja Smrekar.

prose

Mirko Kovač: The City in the Mirror

Mirko Kovač (1938 – 2013) was a renowned novelist, playwright and essayist. Kovač was born in Montenegro, educated at the Academy for Theater, Film and Television (Dramaturgy Department) in Belgrade and established his career in that city, but spent the last few decades of his life in political exile in Croatia. He was a prolific and award-winning writer whose career was marked by persecution and censorship both in Communist Yugoslavia and in Serbia under Milošević. His work enjoyed domestic and international acclaim and he received multiple prestigious awards including the NIN award, the Meša Selimović award, the Vladimir Nazor award and the Kipklop award for lifetime achievement in literature among others.

Some of his most important works are Gubilište (1962) (The Gallows), Moja sestra Elida (1965) (My Sister Elida), Životopis Malvine Trifković (1971) (The Life of Malvina Trifković), Ruganje s dušom (1976) (Mocking with a Passion), Vrata od utrobe (1978) (A Door to the Insides), Uvod u drugi život (1983) (An Introduction to Another Life), Kristalne Rešetke (1995), Grad u zrcalu (2007) (The City in the Mirror), and Vrijeme koje se udaljava (2013) (Time Which Fades). He also wrote a number of screenplays for films, many of which were critically acclaimed, as well as scripts for plays. His work has been translated into more than ten languages.

Read an excerpt from his award-winning book, The City in the Mirror, below.
Translation by Tomislav Kuzmanović.

prose

Korana Serdarević: Irena Tot's Experiment

Korana Serdarević was born in 1982 in Zadar and holds a degree in Croatian Language and Literature and Comparative Literature from the University of Zagreb. She is a writer and a high school teacher and previously worked as a journalist for the widely read Croatian daily newspaper, Večernji List. Her award-winning short stories have been translated into multiple languages and can be found in her collection of short stories, Nema se što učiniti (2015) (Nothing Can be Done). Her debut novel, Eksperiment Irene Tot (2017) (Irena Tot’s Experiment), was short-listed for the prestigious t-portal prize.

In her novel, Irena Tot’s Experiment, Serdarević takes on questions of free will, freedom and change from the protagonist’s perspective, a woman in her early thirties who one day decides to veer off the well-trodden path she was on, leading towards a brilliant career, marriage, and children. She instead purposefully dives into the unknown. Since she doesn’t do what’s expected of her she consequently endures the strange looks and quiet judgment of others.

We’re all familiar with the steady expansion of women’s rights over the past fifty years, but Serdarević challenges the reader to probe the confines of what today's society still expects of "good girls" and "good women" with this important and engaging novel.

Read an excerpt from Serdarević's novel, Irena Tot's Experiment, in the link below.
Translation by Ellen Elias-Bursać.

prose

Sven Popović: Loser by a Landslide

Sven Popović, born in Zagreb in 1989, holds a degree in Comparative Literature, English Language and Literature and American Studies from the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Philosophy. He has published a collection of short stories Nebo u kaljuži (2015) (The Sky in a Quagmire) and a novel Uvjerljivo drugi (2018) (Loser by a Landslide). His writing has been included in many literary magazines and anthologies and has been translated into English, German, Polish and Romanian. Aside from fiction he also writes music and literary criticism for various magazines. He is a co-founder of the literary group Tko čita? (Who Reads?), which organizes literary evenings with the goal of giving younger authors the opportunity to read and promote their work.

In Popović’s autobiographical novel, a nameless protagonist takes us through a narrative bursting with the familiar themes of youth like parties, drinking, endless hanging out, painful romances but all with the underlying current of his generation’s particular cross to bear: despite being well-educated, opportunities are hard to come by in a country where brain drain is in full force.

Read an excerpt from Loser by a Landslide in the link below.
Translation by Ivana Ostojčić.

prose

Amir Alagić: A Hundred Year Childhood

Amir Alagić was born in 1977 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Hercegovina, but has resided in Pula, Croatia since the war broke out in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. He has written a collection of short stories, Pod istim nebom (2010) (Under the Same Sky), and two novels Osvetinje (2017) (The Revengers) and Štogodišnje Djetinstvo (2016) (A Hundred Year Childhood). He has also written and directed a short film Poigravanja ili pokvareni bojler (2012) (Fooling Around or the Broken Boiler).

In the passage below from his novel, A Hundred Year Childhood, Alagić paints a poignant description of a child's love for an animal and the eventual loss of innocence that ensues. He invites the reader to examine more closely how powerful events and moments of realization in our formative years can shape our emotional landscapes and have long-lasting consequences for years to come.

Read an excerpt from Alagić's novel, A Hundred Year Childhood, below
Translation by Vesna Marić

prose

Nora Verde: Until the Supplies Run Out

Antonela Marušić who now writes under her pseudonym, Nora Verde, was born in 1974 in Dubrovnik. She completed her degree in Croatian Language and Literature at the University of Zadar. She has published several collections of poetry as well as the semi-autobioraphical novel Posudi mi smajl (2010) (Lend Me a Smile), the novel Do isteka zaliha (2013) (Until the Supplies Run Out), and a collection of short stories O ljubavi, batinama i revoluciji (2016) (On Love, Beatings and Revolution). Marušić previously worked as a journalist and editor in the cultural sector as well as music, television and independent media. She is a contributor and editor for the feminist website Vox Feminae.


Her novel, Until the Supplies Run Out, which centers around a relationship between two female partners that is coming to a slow, painful and perhaps inevitable end in a city and a society that doesn’t accept their love is a stark, honest and thoughtful work.


Read an excerpt from Verde’s novel, Until the Supplies Run Out, below.
Translation by Paula Jurišić.

poetry

Damir Šodan: ten poems

Damir Šodan was born in 1964 in Split. He earned his degree in English Language and History From the University of Zagreb. Šodan is a poet, a translator and a playwright. He’s written four collections of poetry: Glasovne promjene (1996) (Sound Changes), Srednji svijet (2001) (Middle World), Pisma divljem Skitu (2009) (Letters to a Wild Scythian) and Café Apollinaire (2013). Šodan has also authored several books of plays and many individual plays. He’s translated many notable American authors and poets into Croatian including Charles Bukowski and Raymond Carver. He works as a translator for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hauge, the Netherlands where he lives.

Read ten poems from Damir Šodan in the link below.
Translation by the author.

prose

Viktorija Božina: Turbofolk

Viktorija Božina was born in 1990 in Zadar, Croatia, where she is currently working on her master’s degree in Croatian Language and Literature. She spent three years in the U.S. studying Information Technology. She has published short stories and she recently finished her first novel, Turbofolk.

Turbofolk is a very popular type of music from the Balkans that has its own subculture. It’s loud, in your face, there are often horns involved somehow and popular themes include cheating and relationship issues, money and living fast. Critics call it trashy and it’s a phenomenon, especially among younger generations: on any given weekend the majority of clubs catering to under 30 year olds, whether in cities or small towns, will not only be playing turbofolk, everyone in the club will be singing along to the lyrics.
Božina’s semi-autobiographical debut novel is part chronicle of her time in America but also a look into the semi-rural Dalmatian environment where she grew up and an exploration of her generation and their experience in time, place, and in the time of turbofolk.

Read an excerpt from Božina’s novel, Turbofolk, below
Translation by: Una Krizmanić Ožegović

prose

Tomica Bajsić: A Hermit's Freedom

Tomica Bajsić (b. 1968) was born and raised in Zagreb where he also attended the Academy of Fine Arts, part of the University of Zagreb. Bajsić is a poet, a writer, an artist and a translator. He has published five collections of poetry, two travelogues and a children's picture book. His most recent collection of poetry is Nevidljivo more (2017) (Invisible Sea). He is the winner of the reputable poetry prize Goranovo proljeće for his 1998 poetry collection, Južni križ (Southern Cross). He runs the design and publishing organization Druga Priča (Another Story). He is also the president of the Croatian PEN center.

In his short story, The Hermit's Freedom, Bajsić's prose drips with his poetic sensibilities and his rich descriptions paint many vivid scenes for the reader. The protagonist comes into contact with a mysetrious, Polish artist who has made his home in a secluded tropical paradise far from his motherland.

Read Bajsić’s short story, The Hermit's Freedom, in the link below.
Translation by Boris Gregoric.

prose

Tanja Mravak: While Roland Gaross Was On

Tanja Mravak (b. 1974) hails from Sinj. She garnered critical acclaim with her first book, a collection of short stories entitled Moramo Razgovarati (2010) (We Have to Talk), for which she won the prestigious Jutarnji List award. Her most recent book is another collection of short stories, Naša Žena (2017) (Our Woman). Mravak lives in Split and works at an autism treatment center.

Mravak is interested in the lives of ordinary people, particularly women. Her stories ring with authenticity of character and of environment. In Moramo Razgovarati (2010), she focuses on the traditional, patriarchal southern Croatian environment she knows well. Through the everyday interactions of her characters, she examines the roles we are given, the values of society, and what others expect from us which begs the question: how much of it all is truly us?

Commenting on her characters’ interactions in Moramo Razgovarati, Mravak states: “Encroaching nausea, hopelessness, complicatedness and its all wrapped up in unimportant, sometimes funny conversations. Those people never come into contact with themselves, let alone others. They live given roles, poorly acted.” (Mravak, Tanja. Interviewed by Barbara Matejčić, Moderna vremena, 02.06.2011).

Read her short story, While Roland Gaross Was On, below.
Translation by Tomislav Kuzmanović.

review

Review of Dubravka Ugrešić's novel Fox in Asymptote

Dubravka Ugrešić's novel Fox won last year’s prestigious t-portal award for the best Croatian novel. Read a witty and in-depth review of her award-winning novel from Asymptote by clicking the link below.

report

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...

review

Review of Vedrana Rudan's Love at Last Sight in World Literature Today

Read a review of the English translation of Vedrana Rudan’s heavy-hitting novel which challenges all aspects of the status quo, Love at Last Sight (2017).

prose

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.

news

Ivana Sajko Wins the International Literature Award

Croatian author, Ivana Sajko, was named this year's winner of Germany's International Literature Award, for her novel Liebesroman (Love Novel). The award recognizes the best translation of an international novel into German.


review

A Review of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić's Croatian Tales of Long Ago

Ivana Brlić Mažuranić (1874 - 1938) is a household name in Croatia and is best known for her beloved children’s tales. She was a talented and pioneering author who gained respect and admiration from her contemporaries at a time when women weren’t afforded respect for much else besides their domestic abilities. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize four times and was the first woman admitted as a member into the prestigious Yugoslavian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Read a review of Brlić Mažuranić’s lauded book of collected Slavic fairy tales, Croatian Tales of Long Ago, in the link below:

news

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.

news

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

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.

prose

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.

panorama

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.

panorama

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:

panorama

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.

panorama

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.

panorama

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.

panorama

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.

panorama

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.

panorama

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.

panorama

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.

panorama

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.

panorama

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.

panorama

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.

report

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.

panorama

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'...

report

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...

panorama

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.

panorama

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.

panorama

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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