Damir Karakaš

In 1999 he published a book of travel prose ‘Bosnians are good folks’, followed by his first novel ‘Kombetars’ (2000) and short stories collection ‘Kino Lika’ (2001). Last one earned itself a cult status at the Croatian literary scene. His latest novel ‘Perfect Place for Misery’ was published in 2009.

 Damir Karakaš (Damir Karakas) was born in 1967 in the village of Plašćica in Lika, the mountainous region of Croatia. After studying agronomy, law, and journalism in Zagreb he was reporting for Croatian daily newspaper Večernji list, later becoming a reporter from war-fronts in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. In 2001 he moves to Bordeaux, and a year later to Paris, where he stays for the next five years, making his living by playing the accordion. In Paris he began studying French language at the New Sorbonne University. He is putting up performances and exhibits conceptual art. Since his teenage years his caricatures and drawings are being published in biggest newspapers of ex-Yugoslavia, and he also received several important awards for best caricature. In 1999 he published a book of travel prose ‘Bosnians are good folks’, followed by his first novel ‘Kombetars’ (2000) and short stories collection ‘Kino Lika’ (2001). Last one earned itself a cult status at the Croatian literary scene. In 2004 he published a documentary novel ‘How I entered Europe’ and in 2007 another short story collection ‘Eskimos’. His novel ‘Perfect Place for Misery’ was published in 2009. In 2012 he published a short story collection 'Colonel Beethoven'.

His writing made into the anthology of ex-Yugoslavian short story from 1991-2000 published in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In 2008 a movie made according to his short stories collection ‘Kino Lika’ was released, directed by Dalibor Matanić, winning numerous awards in Croatia and abroad. He writes theatre plays and his play ‘We almost never lock up’ was directed by Paolo Magelli as a part of a play ‘Zagreb Pentagram’, the most awarded theater play in Croatia in 2009. He is currently located in Zagreb.




Damir Karakaš: Excerpt from Remembering Forest

Karakaš’s vivid descriptions will jolt you into the world he grew up in- a remote, conservative community in Croatia’s mountainous region of Lika. He was always different and the simple, traditional values of his small village struggled to contain his vast imagination. When his first grade teacher called him a thoughtful boy, his mother considered it an insult or at the very least, a cause for concern. (Karakaš, Damir. Interviewed by Mirjana Dugandžija, Jutarnji List, 29.1.2017).

Read an excerpt from Karakaš’s semi-autobiographical novel, Remembering Forest below. Translation by Tomislav Kuzmanović.

Damir Karakaš wins Fric Award

On Tuesday, December 19, 2017 the literary Friz Award Ceremony was held in the Foyer of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. The award was granted to Damir Karakaš for his novel, Memories of a Forest.
The Fric Award which takes its name from Miroslav Krleža's nickname was launched by the weekly magazine Express with the desire to position it as an award for literary works that in their widest sense reflect contemporaneity.

Damir Karakaš: Perfect Place for Misery

LIT LINK FESTIVAL 2017

An excerpt from the novel translated by Marino Buble.

The novel is about a young Croatian writer in Paris. Through his everyday struggle emerges a whole new parallel world of Parisian underground marked by immigrants literally trying to survive. He meets a girl from the Arab neighborhood in Paris, signs up for the university studying French language so he could have more success with the publishers as well as to get residence permit... The novel paralelly follows his adventure and his search for a publisher and success which ends with no positive result.

Damir Karakaš was born in 1967 in the village of Plašćica in Lika, the mountainous region of Croatia. He is the author of nine books, out of which there are three short story collections and four novels. His books were translated to German, Czech, Macedonian, Slovenian, Arabic... In 2008 a movie made according to his short stories collection Kino Lika was released, directed by Dalibor Matanić, winning numerous awards in Croatia and abroad.

An interview with Damir Karakaš

"You should look for the reason my character ended up the way he did in that context. Although this isn't an autobiographical novel, but a fiction with autobiographical elements, I happen to have ended up in that hell so I know well what I'm talking about. It's a beautiful building that tourists like to take pictures of, and I passed by it a hundred times and admired it, but I never dreamed that some day I'd end up deep under its foundations, in the catacombs where during the French Revolution they kept people about to be guillotined. This is a novel about a different Paris, a novel about demystifying illusions."

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Jonathon Bousfield on the Heyday of the Iconic Yugoslav Record Label, Jugoton

Jonathon Bousfield recounts the rise of Jugoton, the iconic Zagreb-based Yugoslavian record label that both brought Western music to Yugoslavia and later was at the forefront of the massive post-punk and new wave scenes in the region.

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Mirogoj Cemetery: An Architectural Jewel

Going to a cemetery may not be the first idea that pops into your mind when visiting a new city. But the stunning Mirogoj cemetery in Zagreb, which was designed by the renowned Austrian architect, Herman Bolle, is definitely worth a bit of your time. Read more below to find out why.

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You Haven't Experienced Zagreb if You Haven't Been to the Dolac Market

Dolac, the main city market, is a Zagreb institution. Selling all the fresh ingredients you need to whip up a fabulous dinner, from fruits and vegetables to fish, meat and homemade cheese and sausages, the sellers come from all over Croatia. Positioned right above the main square, the colorful market is a beacon of a simpler way of life and is just as bustling as it was a century ago.

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How to Spend a Spring Day in Zagreb

Wondering where to start exploring Croatia’s small but vibrant capital city, Zagreb? Check out Time Out’s list of must sees in Zagreb from the most famous market in town to where to sample the best rakija (local brandy).

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Croatian Phrases Translated into English

Do you find phrases and sayings give personality and flair to a language? Have you ever pondered how the culture and history of a place shape the common phrases? Check out some common sayings in Croatian with their literal translations and actual meanings below.

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Discover Croatia's Archaeological Secrets

Discover Croatia’s rich archaeological secrets, from the well known ancient Roman city of Salona near Split or the Neanderthal museum in Krapina to the often overlooked Andautonia Archaeological Park, just outside of Zagreb, which boasts the excavated ruins of a Roman town or the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe, Vinkovci.

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Nikola Tesla – Mind from the Future - Multimedia Exhibition in Zagreb

A spectacular multimedia exhibition honouring Nikola Tesla, one of the world’s greatest visionaries, titled ‘Nikola Tesla – Mind from the Future’, will stay open until 20 March 2018.
“Immersed into the magical world of the genius Nikola Tesla, by merging the elements of a ‘live’ film, video set design, computer game, and magical hologram and light adventure into a unique multimedia experience of extended reality, with this exhibition we seek to take you on a contemplative ‘journey’ without beginning or end, through a process of inspiration, creativity and production.” - Helena Bulaja Madunić, exhibition author

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Hollywood and Dubrovnik

The medieval city in Croatia is having a geek-culture moment as the setting for King’s Landing in the HBO series “Game of Thrones”.
Hollywood seems to have discovered Dubrovnik. Parts of The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the Star Wars saga, also take place in the fortress town. Filming wrapped this year on a new Robin Hood film starring Taron Eagerton, Jamie Foxx, and Jamie Dornan (and produced by Leonard DiCaprio). The 25th James Bond film is reported to begin shooting in the city in January 2018.
But not everyone appreciates all the attention.

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Great films shot in Zagreb

There's a surprising raft of indelible productions shot in and around Croatia's capital, like the world-dominating spy-caper 'James Bond: From Russia with Love' and Orson Welles' interpretation of Kafka's absurd, existentialist novel 'The Trial'...

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LitLink Thoughts. The Publisher's View by Mitch Albert, Periscope Books.

The curation of a festival of literature naturally entails the “curation” of its participants. Lit Link excelled in this regard – the authors invited from the UK represented a very fine, accomplished tranche of contemporary British writing, and the publishers, for the most part, represented a scrappy, independent ethos and pride in advancing thought-provoking fiction and literary fiction in translation.

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LitLink. The Editor's View. By: Anna Kelly

As far as I know, LitLink festival is unique. Each year it takes a group of writers and publishers to three Croatian cities – Pula, Rijeka, and Zagreb – for a series of evening readings. Along the way there are coach journeys on winding roads, stunning vistas of deep green fields and icy mountains, excellent Croatian wine and food, sea swimming, plenty of book chat...

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A very rough guide to LitLink. The Author's View. By: Joanna Kavenna

Each night there is a bilingual Croatian-English event. Translations are projected behind the writers as they read. It becomes apparent that many contemporary Croatian writers are high ironists, forging dark comedy from aspects of life that most disturb them – war, corruption, the riotous hypocrisy of those who claim to govern us.
The tour runs from Zagreb to Pula to Rijeka...

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Olja Savičević Ivančević: Singer in the Night review

Read a review of the much acclaimed contemporary Croatian writer, Olja Savičević Ivančević’s book, Pjevač u noći (2016) (Singer in the Night).

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New wave in Yugoslavia

As its counterparts, the British and the US new wave, from which the main influences came, the Yugoslav scene was also closely related to punk rock, ska, reggae, 2 Tone, power pop and mod revival.
Important artists were: Azra, Šarlo Akrobata, Idoli (famous for their song "Maljčiki" and its respective video in which they ridiculed the soviet soc-realism), Pankrti (first Yugoslav punk band), Prljavo kazalište (started as a punk unit; the title of their second album Crno-bijeli svijet which means "black and white world" holds a reference to the 2 Tone movement), Električni Orgazam (punk at the beginning, they moved towards post-punk and psychedelia later and were described as "The Punk Doors"), Slađana Milošević, Haustor (mostly reggae, ska and similar influences, but with a more poetic and intellectual approach compared to some danceable bands), Buldožer, Laboratorija Zvuka, Film (one of the first new wave groups), Lačni Franz and many others.
New wave was especially advocated by the magazines Polet from Zagreb and Džuboks from Belgrade.

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Croatian Sites on UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

A little know fact is that Croatia, together with Spain, have the most cultural and historical heritage under the protection of UNESCO, and Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO intangible goods of any European country.

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Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb

The National Theater in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, is one of those things which always finds its way to every visitor’s busy schedule.

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Zagreb Festivals and Cultural Events

Numerous festivals, shows and exhibitions are held annually in Zagreb. Search our what's on guide to arts & entertainment.

Authors' pages

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