Zvonimir Balog was born in Sveti Petar Čvrstec in Croatia in 1932. He attended a school for Applied Arts, studied Education, and trained to be a teacher in Zagreb. Balog worked in many occupations. He was a waiter, interior decorator, administrator, primary school teacher, and an editor for youth magazines and Croatian children’s television.
He has published over 30 books in three decades of creative writing. His works include poetry, short stories and novels. Balog is also a well-known scriptwriter and editor of two anthologies: “Zlatna knjiga svjetskog pjesništva za djecu” (“The Golden Book of World Poetry for Children”) and “Antologija hrvatskog humorističkog pjesništva” (“Anthology of humorous Croatian verse”). The author has illustrated many of his books himself.
Balog holds a very individual and unconventional position in modern Croatian literature. His children’s poetry represents a major break with the Croatian storytelling tradition. Ranka Javor has commented that Balog’s view that freedom is the basis of his life and works is reflected in his extraordinary use of language. His unusual phrasing and plays on words force the reader to look at things in a new light.
His collections of essays, “Nice Manners or How I Can Avoid Growing Up to Be a Twit” (2000) poses all kinds of moral, ethical and philosophical questions. The essays address issues such as the fight against war and various manifestations of hate and aggression. They constitute pleas for creativity and art.
Balog has been honoured with all existing Croatian children’s literature prizes. He lives in Zagreb.