Archive 2009

born in 1949 in what is today Croatia. She graduated in Comparative Literature and Russian Language and Literature at the University of Zagreb and for twenty years taught at its Literary Theory Institute, successfully combining her writing with an academic career. Her scholarly interests focused on Russian avant-garde culture. She was an editor of the international project Pojmovnik ruske avangarde, (A Glossary of the Russian Avantgarde) and published a book on contemporary Russian prose, Nova ruska proza (1980). She translated into Croatian such authors as Boris Pilnyak and Daniil Kharms, and edited an anthology of Russian contemporary literature (Pljuska u ruci, 1989).
In former Yugoslavia Dubravka Ugrešić was best known for her fiction and short stories: Poza za prozu, 1978; Stefica Cvek u raljama života (In the Jaws of Life, 1981); Život je bajka (Life Is a Fairytale, 1983) and Forsiranje romana-reke (Fording the Stream of Consciousness, 1988). The latter was awarded the prestigious NIN Literary Prize for best novel of the year. Ugrešić also wrote television scripts and children’s books.
In 1991, at the outbreak of the war in Yugoslavia, she took a firm anti-nationalist and anti-war stance. She began to criticize in her writing both Croatian and Serbian nationalism, the inanity and criminality of war, soon becoming the target of attacks on the part of nationalist media, politicians and ordinary citizens. She was declared a “traitor”, a “public enemy” and a “witch”, ostracized and subjected to relentless media harassment. She left Croatia in 1993.
She continued to write abroad, publishing such novels as Muzej bezuvjetne przedaje (The Museum of Unconditional Surrender, 2001) and Ministarstvo boli (The Ministry of Pain, 2004), and essay collections Americki fikcionar (1993), Kultura lazi (The Culture of Lies, 1996), Zabranjeno citanje (Thank You for Not Reading, 2001) and Nikog nema doma (Nobody’s Home, 2005). Her essays have appeared in American (Context, The Hedgehog Review) and European newspapers and magazines (such as Vrij Nederland, NRC Handelsblad, Die Zeit, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Die Welt Woche). She occasionally teaches at American and European universities. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages. She is the recipient of many important European literary prizes. She now lives and works in Amsterdam.