22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Slavenka Drakulić

Portrait Slavenka Drakulić
© Ali Ghandtschi

Slavenka Drakulić was born in Rijeka, today Croatia, in 1949. She studied literature and sociology, taught at a high school in Zagreb until 1984, and later worked as an staff writer for periodicals such as bi-weekly review »Start« and the political magazine »Danas«. She was layed off from the editorial staff after the gazette was privatized and turned into a mouthpiece for the Tuđjman government. Since 1992, she has worked as a freelance writer and journalist for major international newspapers. After her criticism of nationalist government in her home country led to hostilities, she moved her base to Stockholm. Today, she lives in Sweden and Croatia.
Drakulić’s sharp and intelligent analyses of Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe as well as the Balkan Wars and the new states that have emerged from them, are included in several collections of essays such as »How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed« (1991), »Balkan Express. Fragments from the Other Side of the War« (1992), and »Café Europa. Life After Communism« (1996), in which she documents the not always realistic image of Europe in Balkan countries, whose people are insufficiently prepared for the challenges of democracy. In »They Would Never Hurt a Fly« (2003), Drakulić calls for the individualization of guilt. After spending months following the trials of the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague and other trials in Croatia, she composed around a dozen portraits of war criminals. In 2005 she received the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding for this work.
Drakulić has also published novels such as »Mramorna koza« (1989; Eng. »Marble Skin«, 1993), which describes the destructive consequences of extreme passion: the longing for intimacy with her mother leads a girl to expose herself to the sexual assaults of her mother’s lover. The novel »Kao da me nema« (1999; Eng. »As If I Am Not There«, 1999) is a precise and sober portrayal of the destiny of a Bosnian woman who must endure war, camps, rape and ensuing pregnancy. Following her novel about Picasso’s lover Dora Maar, »Dora i Minotaur: Moj život s Picassom« (2015; tr: Dora and the Minotaur: My Life with Picasso), in her most recent novel »Mileva Einstein, teorija tuge« (2016; tr: Mileva Einstein, a Theory of Sorrow) Drakulić recounts, with much sensitivity, the life of Albert Einstein’s wife, a physicist who discussed his theories with him and was his closest confidante, but who in the end was defeated by the patriarchal thought processes of the early 20th century.