An Interview with Dubravka Ugrešić


| 5/25/2016 10:18:00 AM


Tags: Dubravka Ugrešić, Interview, Refugees,

Dubravka Ugrešić is the 2016 winner of “America’s Nobel,” the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Born and raised in the former Yugoslavia, Ms. Ugrešić was a prominent critic of the Yugoslav Wars and the nationalist, anti-Serbian political sentiments that were popular in her homeland of Croatia. Her politically-charged writings eventually led to her exile in the Netherlands in 1993, where she has continued to live and write to this day. Her fiction and essay works frequently focus on themes of war and refugee, analyzing both the trauma and freedom experienced by those displaced. Her representative text for the Neustadt Prize, ‘The Museum of Unconditional Surrender,’ is one such work that reflects upon the shattered life of an exile. She is based in Amsterdam.

This interview was conducted by World Literature Today. To read about the three-day festival in October 2016 celebrating Ugrešić's work, visit A Hidden Literary Treasure in Oklahoma.

Dubravka Ugrešić

Q: Thank you so much for speaking with us, and congratulations on your winning the 2016 Neustadt International prize for Literature. How did it feel when you got the news?

DU: Thank you. To be honest, the experience of being a finalist for a big literary prize is pretty complicated. Writers are not proud to admit their vulnerability in such situations, often ashamed of the childishness of hidden hopes. That’s why I disconnected myself from both phone and internet. I wanted to avoid the “bad news” when told that I did not win. As such, when I heard the jury’s decision, I got very happily confused.