Internationally acclaimed author, essayist and translator Dubravka Ugrešić passed away


Internationally acclaimed author, essayist and translator Dubravka Ugrešić passed away on March 17th 2023, in Amsterdam, at the age 73.

Ugrešić received numerous international literary awards for her works including Man Booker International Prize, Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, NIN Award, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, Heinrich Mann Prize, the James Tiptoe Jr., Neustadt International Prize for Literature (the “American Nobel”). Her name was also mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Born in Kutina (Croatia) in 1949, she began her long, fruitful literary career writing children's prose and short stories in the 1970s. Her novel Štefica Cvek in the Jaws of Life (1981) became an instant classic, receiving universal critical acclaim, and was adapted into a film by the renowned Croatian film director, Rajko Grlić, in 1984. The novel showcases the elements that will characterize her work: dismantling the stereotypes of femininity formed by a hegemonic masculine perspective, intertextuality, fragmentation as a pattern for observing a reality, postmodernist irony, and playfulness, all of which challenge the reader and encourage critical thinking.

After leaving Croatia, exile as fate becomes one of the key themes of her literary work, which she considers through the concept of identity, especially in the award-winning novel Museum of Unconditional Surrender. Her other notable novels include Fording the Stream of Consciousness, The Ministry of Pain and Baba Yaga Laid an Egg. Other than being an exceptional novelist, Ugrešić has been renowned for her poignant essay collections, such as The Culture of Lies, The Age of Skin, Europe in Sepia, and Karaoke Cultures in which she tackled issues of cultural globalization, ostracization, popular and mass culture, as well as her post-communist experiences that will remain a permanent testimony of the turbulent European transitions.

Foto: (c) Shevuan Williams