Biljana Srbljanović was born in 1970 in Belgrade. She graduated at the Belgrade’s Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she now teaches. Her thesis was the play »Beogradska trilogija« (1995, tr: Belgrade Trilogy), which premièred in Belgrade in 1997. At the heart of the three tragicomic scenes are young Serbian émigrés in Prague, Sydney and Los Angeles, who managed to dodge the draft in their home country, but whose dreams and hopes remain unfulfilled. The central themes of her dramatic works are already evident here – the breakup of families and communities and the traumata of a brutalised society during and after the Yugoslav wars. In her play »Porodične priče« (1997, tr: Family Stories) family conditions in post-Communist Belgrade are simulated in role-plays. Her play »Pad« (1999, tr: The Fall) is a reckoning with the Milošević regime and the backwardness of all nationalism. During a guest professorship in New York in 2002/03 she wrote her play »God Save America«, about the abrupt end of the New Economy career of a European immigrant. Srbljanović tackled the older generation and their struggle for survival following the collapse of the social systems in »Skakavci« (2005, tr: Locusts), for which the journal »Theater heute« nominated her one of the three »foreign dramatists of 2006«. In 2009 she was commissioned by the Essen Theater to write »Barbelo, von Hunden und Kindern« (tr: Barbelo, of Dogs and Children) about a family marked by war and political upheavals in which the difference between life and death is as obscured as that between human and animal.
She has published nine plays and many essays, editorials and articles in international press (»Le Monde«, »La Repubblica«, »Der Standard«, »Der Spiegel«, »B92«, »Pescanik«, etc). Her plays have been translated into 25 languages, and performed in over 100 theaters all over the world.
Among other awards, she won the Serbian Sterija Award for a new play five times, the Ernst Toller prize (1999) and the Freedom Prize (2003) – both for her engagement between arts and politics – and, in 2007 she won the Europe Prize for New Theatrical Realities. She is a human and animal rights activist, was a candidate for a Mayor of Belgrade, at the municipal elections in 2008. Currently, she is working on a play entitled »Death is Not a Bicycle«, commissioned by the Bochum Schauspielhaus. Biljana Srbljanovic lives and works between Belgrade, Paris and Baku.