A literary voice of transplanted and translated subject, Dubravka Ugrešić epitomizes a transnational European writer. Ugrešić lives across different borders and divisions, between East and West, European North and South, European and not-yet-European spaces within the geography of Europe, as well as between languages (she writes in Croatian, or Croato-Serbian but her texts appear in other languages, such as Dutch or English), participating in the everyday life, cultures, and political processes of two or more nation states. Rather than by her experience of displacement and exile, Ugrešić’s transnational writer’s profile is shaped by the very repertoire of the privileged themes of her writing—questions of identity, gender, memory, and language, feelings of loss and trauma—and, even more so, by her use of the attentive critical language able to swiftly cut through the literary tissue of national canons and cultural myths.
During her Harriman residency in October 2015, Ugrešić taught the graduate seminar “National vs. Transnational Literature,” and a two-day conference was held in her honor, at which she delivered the keynote address “What We Talk About When We Talk About Literature.” That same month Ugrešić was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
Read “Without Country: An Interview with Dubravka Ugrešić” by Meghan Forbes (Harriman Magazine, Summer 2016).
Photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.