Dubravka Ugresic


Date and place of birth: 1949, Kutina, Croatia

Living place: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Theme: literature

ECC Participation: Congress Council

Dubravka Ugresic is one of the best-known contemporary novelists, short story writers, and essayists from the former Yugoslavia. She writes for Europe’s leading newspapers, and is a frequent contributor to the Polish daily “Gazeta Wyborcza”. Her pieces expose the hypocrisy of politicians and the degeneration of the mass media.

“We are all nationalists.”

Ugresic graduated from the University of Zagreb with degrees in comparative literature and Russian. As a literary scholar she specialized in Russian avant-garde. She has also translated Russian poetry into Croatian. As a staunch critic of both Serb and Croatian nationalism during the civil war in Yugoslavia, she was violently criticized by the politics, journalists, and intellectuals supporting nationalistically oriented government. In 1993 she emigrated. Her critics in the Croatian media proclaimed her a “traitor” and a “witch.” She now lives in the Netherlands, where she continues to write about the issues of mutual, national and ethnic prejudices, phobias and stereotypes. She is regularly invited to lecture at European and American universities.

Her works include “Fording the Stream of Consciousness” (1991), “Have A Nice Day: From the Balkan War to the American Dream” (1994), and “The Ministry of Pain” (2005). Her writing provides keen insight into the experience of emigration and foreignness, analyzes the process by which conflicts are born, and discusses “Yugonostalgia”: the longing for the Yugoslavia that existed before the breakup. One of her most important titles is „The Culture of Lies” (1998), a collection of essays in which she takes an acerbic look at Balkan nationalism. Her books have been translated into over 20 languages. She has won many awards, including the Heinrich Mann Prize and the Charles Veillon European Essay Award.

listen to the content print version

TAGS: ECC Council, literature