Dubravka Ugrešić

Dubravka Ugrešić was a Yugoslav-Croatian writer and essayist renowned for her unique literary style and critical insights. Her works were translated into thirty languages.

Dubravka Ugrešić was born in Kutina, Yugoslavia (now Croatia). She attended the University of Zagreb, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Russian Language. Her academic career flourished at the university's Institute for Theory of Literature.

As an undergraduate, she began writing screenplays for children's television shows. Her first book, Mali Plamen (1971), won a prestigious Croatian literary prize for children's literature. Ugresic published two more books (Filip i Srecica, 1976; Kucni duhovi, 1988), but then stopped writing for children.

Her early literary work, characterized by postmodernist techniques, critically explored the cultural and social transformations in Eastern Europe following the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ugrešić's narrative prowess was evident in her poignant reflections on national identity and the complexities of cultural heritage.

The outbreak of war in Yugoslavia in 1991 marked a pivotal moment in her life. Ugrešić took a staunch anti-war stance, critiquing nationalist ideologies and the devastations of conflict. This position, unfortunately, led to severe backlash and ostracism by the media and nationalists, compelling her to leave Croatia in 1993. She subsequently adopted a transnational, or as she preferred, a "post-national" identity, refusing to be confined by national borders.

Ugrešić's exile became a permanent emigration, and she continued her literary and academic endeavors abroad, holding positions at prestigious institutions such as Harvard, UCLA, and the Free University of Berlin.

Her notable essays and novels include Steffie Speck in the Jaws of Life (1981), which playfully critiqued popular culture while incorporating elements of high literature, and The Museum of Unconditional Surrender (1997), a profound exploration of memory and loss set against the backdrop of post-Wall Berlin.

She has received numerous accolades for her literary and essayistic contributions, including the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 1998 and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 2016.

Dubravka Ugrešić passed away on March 17, 2023, in Amsterdam.

Photo credit: Jerry Braun.
роки життя: 27 Березня 1949 17 Березня 2023


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