23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Faruk Šehić

Faruk Šehić was born in Bihać in the former Republic of Yugoslavia in 1970. He studied veterinary medicine and was a soldier in the Bosnian war in 1992. Šehić began studying literature in Sarajevo in 1997 and began writing prose and poetry at the same time.

His first volume of poetry, »Pjesme u nastajanju« [tr: Acquired Poems], appeared in 2000. The following volume, »Hit depo« [2003], already highlights a central theme of his literary work: life in a society traumatized by war. In 2004, Šehić’s first volume of short prose appeared under the title »Pod pritiskom« [Eng. »Under Pressure«, 2019]. His debut novel »Knjiga o Uni« [2011; Eng. »Quiet Flows the Una«, 2016] is about a man who fought as a soldier in the Bosnian war and is now trying to come to terms with his experiences from that time. In addition to flashbacks to his childhood in peacetime and descriptions of the war, it is about his attempt to start a new life in a destroyed city. The titular Una River, a tributary of the Sava River in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina, is the myth-shrouded constant within the checkered history as well as the silent witness, reminding the protagonist of his peaceful childhood. »Through his exploration of war and peace, innocence and grief, Šehić has composed a humbling meditation on an existential conundrum«, says the »Guardian«, namely, »how to keep the inner self whole in a world that will assault it in unimaginable ways«.

After the Una, other rivers in Europe also became part of Faruk Šehić’s lyrical work. Thus, in the volume »Moje rijeke« [2014; tr: My Rivers], he dedicated one cycle each to the Loire and the Drina, as well as the Spree and Berlin. His volume of short prose »Priče sa satnim mehanizmom« [2018; tr: Clockwork Stories] again takes up the themes of war trauma and the disruption of human life caused by it. The hyperrealistic narrative style, which reaches into the fantastic and futuristic, is also formative for Šehić’s most recent, transrealist novel »Greta« [2021]. A central idea of the work is the magic of imagination capable of creating reality. In 2017, the author was a fellow at the Literary Colloquium Berlin. There he wrote his poetic text »Auslenderska berlinologija« [tr: Foreigner’s Berlinology], which was published on the cultural website nomad.ba.

Among other awards, Šehić received the Meša Selimović Prize for his novel »Knjiga o Uni« in 2011 and the European Union Prize for Literature in 2013. His works have been translated into French, Hungarian, Polish, English, German, Italian, and other languages. Šehić also writes as a journalist for the news magazine »BH Dani« and the Sarajevo daily newspaper »Oslobođenje«. The author lives in Sarajevo. He will be a guest of the DAAD Artists’ Program in 2022.

Date: 2022