Croatian writer Dubravka Ugresic died in Amsterdam, where she had lived since the 1990s. The one who had been mentioned for three years as a potential winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, died Friday at the age of 73, surrounded by members of his family and friends.
The work of Dubravka Ugresic, born March 27, 1949 in Kutina, Croatia, was marked by a rare combination of irony, polemics and compassion, which can be found in particular in her writings on the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Target of nationalists
In her home country, she was mainly known for her criticism of nationalism and the wars that broke out when Yugoslavia was torn apart.
At the time, she was widely criticized by nationalist media, public figures and peers, who notably called her a« antipatriote »of “traitor” to the nation and even ” witch “.
Her website says she took a tough stance “critically dissecting backward Croatian and Serbian nationalism, the stupidity and criminality of war”.
“In the process, she became a target for nationalist journalists, politicians and other writers”.
Victim of prolonged public ostracism and persistent media harassment, the University of Zagreb graduate left Croatia in 1993, where the war of independence claimed some 20,000 lives between 1991 and 1995. She lived in Amsterdam since 1996.
Dubravka Ugresic’s books have been translated into over 20 languages and she has won numerous awards for her writing, including the 2016 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
She was also a finalist for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize in 2009. After receiving the prize for the best novel in Croatia in 2018 – her first since leaving in 1993 – she had in an interview called for more multiculturalism.
“I believe that a post-national, transnational and intercultural state is what best suits my temperament, my lifestyle, my intellectual and ideological convictions”she told the internet portal Tportal.