Miro Gavran

Miro Gavran was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1961 and is one of the most prolific authors of his generation. After completing his degree at the Academy for Theatre, Film and Television, he at first worked as a dramatist between 1986 and 1992, and later as artistic director at the renowned Teatar & TD.  For the last ten years, Miro Gavran’s main profession has been writing and he has become the most widely translated contemporary Croatian playwright.  In 1983 he made his debut with ‘Kreontova Antigona’ (Engl: ‘Kreon’s Antigone’). Since then he has produced more than 30 plays, which have been staged in Croatian as well as international theatres. He celebrated one of his greatest successes in 1999 with the premiere of his play ‘Kraljevi i konjušari’ (Engl: ‘Royalty and Rogues’) at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Centre in Waterford, USA. In the following years his plays were staged worldwide in (amongst others) the metropolises of Paris, Athens, Moscow, and Buenos Aires. Since February 2003 the annual international theatre GAVRANFest festival has taken place in Slovakian Trnava. Gavran is the first European author to have a theatre festival dedicated to him.

His credibility as an author has been confirmed by the excellent response he received from critics and readers alike for his novels and books for children and young adults.  His novel ‘Judita’ (2001) was nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award 2003. Further nominations followed in 2005 with the novel ‘Krstitlj’ (2002. Engl: ‘John the Baptist’) and in 2007 ‘Poncije Pilat’ (2004, Engl: ‘Pontius Pilate’). ‘Sretni Dani’ (1994; Engl: ‘Happy Days’), the amusing and warmheartedly told story about two eleven year-olds, who wish for a ‘real’ family and who use little tricks to coax their single parents into falling in love, was awarded the Mato-Lovrak Prize in 1995.  In 1996 Gavran’s short story for young adults ‘Pokušaj zaboraviti’ (engl: Try to Forget) about seventeen yearold Anita, who moves to Zagreb with her parents in order to gain some distance from a rape, was published.  The silent wish to forget the past is not fullfilled at first, but when she meets her new classmate Daniel, it looks as if her life is about to change.  Gavran mirrors the psyche of his young protagonists in an unusual way: while Daniel writes letters to his best friend, in which he reveals his affection for Anita, Anita recordes her mixed emotions in her diary.  Gavran’s ‘Zaboravljeni sin’ (Engl: The Forgotten Son) was published in 1989. In a realistic yet moving way, he tells the story of mentally disabled Mislav, who, after having spent years in an institution, finally returns to his family. In the form of diary entries, the twenty year-old reports on the initial shame felt by his parents, class prejudices and his fondness for a young woman.  ‘Zaboravljeni sin’ was included on the IBBY Honour List 2002 as a book for young adults.

Miro Gavran’s work has been translated into seventeen languages and has been awarded many prizes, including the European Time International Literary Award for the Best Central European Writer of the Year 1999. In 2003, he was awarded the European Circle Award  of the European Movement in Zagreb for the exceptional contribution of promoting European values in the area of culture. The Croatian Ministry of Culture awarded him the Marin Držić Prize in 2004 for the play ‘Zabranjeno smijanje’ (Engl: ‘Laughing forbidden’) and in 2005 for the play “Nora Danas” (Engl: Nora Today). His play ‘Maz mojej zony’(Engl: The husband of my wife), which was premiered in Moscow in October 2007, was given awards three times at the Amur Festival in Blagoveščensk His novel ‘Profesorika iz snova’ (Engl: The teacher of my dreams) received a special prize at the International Children’s and Youth Literary Festival in Sofia. In the autumn of 2002, he founded the GAVRAN theatre with his wife, the actress Mladena Gavran in Zagreb, where he lives.

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