Joanna Kavenna: Come to the Edge


Joanna Kavenna is a British novelist, essayist and travel writer who grew up in various parts of Britain. Her first book, The Ice Museum (2005), came about as a result of her travels through Scandinavia and Northern Europe and was well received by critics. Her next book, a novel, Inglorious (2007), won the Orange Broadband Award for New Writers. Her subsequent novels are The Birth of Love (2010), Come to the Edge (2012) and A Field Guide to Reality (2016). Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement, and the International Herald Tribune among other publications. She was named by Granta magazine as one of the Best Young British Novelists in 2013.

Kavenna will be reading a passage from her novel, Come to the Edge, and discussing her work as a participant in the 2017 Lit Link Festival which will take place in Pula (June 29th), Rijeka (June 30th), and Zagreb (July 1st).


How Are You? by Barbara Matejčić, a review


"From time to time, a literary work would appear that would succeed in giving a voice to the voiceless ones. How Are You?, an excellent collection of short stories by a Croatian journalist and writer Barbara Matejčić, is one of these literary works.
The author has spent a period of her life with her characters, being with them, helping them and listening to their stories, and her method is hence intrinsically one typical of investigative journalism."
Saša Ilić,


Marin Franičević: Dobriša Cesarić and his unique poetry

Dobriša Cesarić (1902 –1980) was a Croatian poet and translator born in Požega. Despite his limited output, Cesarić is considered as one of the greatest Croatian poets of the 20th century.
His first appearance on the literary scene was when he was 14 years old, with a poem "I ja ljubim" (eng. "I too love") which was published in a magazine for the youth called "Pobratim" (eng. "Stepbrother"). His work as a poet consists of ten poem books and a few translations.
He translated from German, Russian, Italian, Bulgarian and Hungarian to Croatian.

The article had been written by Croatian poet Marin Franičević (Vrisnik 1911 - Zagreb 1990), and it was originally published in Most/The Bridge literary review in 1981.


Paul Gravett on Comics Culture in Yugoslavia: World-Class Innovators & Remarkable Visionaries

Gravett's decided to share his fascination with the guidebook 'The Comics We Loved: Selection Of 20th Century Comics & Creators From The Region Of Former Yugoslavia' by Živojin Tamburić, Zdravko Zupan & Zoran Stefanović.


Akashic Noir series: Zagreb Noir

Zagreb Noir, edited by Ivan Sršen, is the newest anthology in the bestselling noir series by Akashic Press. It all began in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir, and has expanded to include major cities around the world from Havana to Singapore. Zagreb Noir is a peek into the Croatian capital and is charged with dark humor and vivid atmosphere. With original stories from Croatian writers, this unique anthology not only captures literary Zagreb but many of the city’s more harrowing tales.


Socialism and Modernity: A Hidden History

Rick Poynor tries to correct the injustice: not so many designers in English-speaking countries know about the growth of graphic design and visual culture in central and eastern Europe after the Second World War.


Krleža seen by French critics

Six of Krleža's books have been translated into French: The Burial at Theresienburg (short stories, Editions de Minuit, translated by Antun Polanšćak, preface by Leon-Pierre Quint, Paris, 1956.), The Return of Philip Latinovicz (novel, edited by Calman-Lévy, translated by Mila Đorđević and Ciara Malraux, Paris, 1957.], The Banquet in Blithuania (novel, edited by Calman-Lévy, translated by Mauricette Beguitch, Paris, 1964.), I’m not Playing Anymore (novel, Edition de Seuil, translated by Janine Matillon, Paris, 1969.], Mars, Croatian God (short stories, Edition Calman-Lévy, translated by Janine Matillon and Antun Polanšćak, Paris, 1971.), The Ballads of Petritsa Kerempuh (Edition: Presses orientales de France, translated by Janine Matillon). All these books were well received. We give here some extracts from criticisms (Maurice Nadeau, Léon Pierre Quint, Claude Roy, Marcel Schneider, Robert Bréchon, Jean Bloch-Michel and others) who provide various insights into Krleža`s work.

The article was originally published in Most/The Bridge literary review (number 3-4, 1979).


Rick Poynor on how he discovered Boris Bućan

How visiting Zagreb, while accompanied by the collegue taking you to unknown places and holding the key to the door, can end up with discovering one of Croatia's most prominent artists.


Farewell, Cowboy by Olja Savičević review - coming of age in small-town Croatia

THE GUARDIAN, Sat, 9 May 2015
by: Kapka Kassabova

The publication of this dazzling, funny and deadly serious novel will bring nourishment to readers hungry for the best new European fiction... With this novel, which lodges itself in your chest like a friendly bullet, a glorious new European voice has arrived.


Dubravka Ugrešić's Europe in Sepia

22 Apr 2014
by Madeleine LaRue

Dubravka Ugrešić is a Croatian writer living in Amsterdam, which, as she remarks, tongue firmly in cheek, “is just the sexiest thing ever.” Ugrešić is always the first to subvert her own glamour. Indeed, she has distinguished herself throughout her thirty-year career by refusing to accept the romance, by staring down nostalgia until it splinters apart like her former homeland.


Our Man in Iraq by Robert Perisic

World Literature Today, September 2013.
by Michele Levy, North Carolina A&T University

This postmodern, postcommunist picaresque hilariously skewers Croatian, Western, and global culture as it follows the rapid descent of quasi-journalist Toni



Steven Wingate
From: American Book Review
Volume 34, Number 4, May/June 2013

Perišić neither sentimentalizes or demonizes the worship of global capital, making his novel that much more tough-minded.


The First Rule of Swimming

Washington Independent, by Amanda Holmes Duffy, July 3, 2013

The yearning for and promise of refuge are symbolized by a fictional Croatian island in this novel about two devoted sisters, survivors who learn that the first rule of swimming is to stay afloat.


Staying Afloat - Courtney Angela Brkic’s ‘First Rule of Swimming’

The New York Times, by BROOKE ALLEN, July 12, 2013

The violent history of postwar Croatia, from 1945 until the turn of the millennium, created three generations of dislocated people. Some were dislocated from home and roots: many thousands fled their homeland during the years of Yugoslav Communism, with its informers, “eliminations” and prison camps. Others, who stayed on, were dislocated from their history as the Communist authorities rewrote the past, a process that continued during the bloody Balkan wars of the 1990s. And dislocation, as always, extended into the psychological realm: timeless ideas of value and even truth were warped by decades of lies.


Co-Winner of April Essay Contest: They Would Never Hurt a Fly (2005)

Piše: Daniel Rusnak
Published Monday, April 15, 2013

In They Would Never Hurt a Fly, Slavenka Drakulic follows the stories of the Hague War criminals from the former Yugoslavia. Drakulic argues that ordinary men transformed into war criminals gradually through intensifying rhetoric containing a perfect storm of prejudice, myth, propaganda history and culture. Becoming a war criminal is a process, she claims, that does not affect only those who are “predisposed” or “inhuman.” Indeed, anyone can become a war criminal under the right circumstances. Even well meaning, civilized people like you and me.


An extraordinary novel succeeds on all fronts

The Gazette, Laura Farmer, 28 April 2013

Extraordinary novels do more than tell a good story; they cross multiple orbits, discussing family, love, politics, money and art. What’s amazing about Robert Perisic’s “Our Man in Iraq” is that it does all of the above — while also being wickedly funny.


Mama Leone by Miljenko Jergović

Mama Leone, by Miljenko Jergović (b. 1966), has an interesting structure: the first part of the book, “When I Was Born a Dog Started Barking in the Hall of the Maternity Ward,” is a novella narrated from the first-person perspective, while the second part, ”It Was Then a Childhood Story Ended,” is composed of twelve short stories written by an omniscent narrator.


Every Day, Every Hour by Nataša Dragnić

Michele Levy, World Literature Today

Readers and foreign presses have embraced Every Day, Every Hour as an enchanting first novel. Alas, however, its fairy-tale romance collapses under the weight of stylistic and structural contrivance.


After the war

Prospect Magazine / by J A Hopkin / January 24, 2013

Our Man in Iraq, by Robert Perišic

Robert Perišic’s wry novel Our Man in Iraq was a bestseller in his native Croatia, and its US edition has been endorsed recently by Jonathan Franzen. It’s easy to see why. With a nod to the great Ranko Marinkovic’s novel, Cyclops, in which a theatre critic and his boho-intelligentsia friends try to make sense of Zagreb during the second world war, Perišic maps and mocks the rapid changes happening to his city following the end of the Domovinski Rat—the brutal Homelands War of 1991-95 in which Croatia fought for independence from Serbia.


A Handful of Sand, by Marinko Koscec, translated by Will Firth

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog, Lisa Hill, April 20, 2013

A Handful of Sand by Marinko Koščec and translated from the Croatian by Will Firth, is billed on its blurb as an ‘ode to lost opportunity’ but I think it’s more than that. I think it asks, is it ever possible for psychologically damaged people to love? Or is it that they can only ‘sample’ what others have, only to lose it like sand slipping through their fingers?


Croatia via Iraq

Brave New Words, Thursday, April 18, 2013

B.J. Epstein

I had never read a Croatian novel, though I’ve been to Croatia, until a few months ago. Here’s my review of that Croatian novel in English translation. The review was published in Wales Arts Review.

Our Man in Iraq
Robert Perisic, translated by Will Firth


A handful of sand by Marinko Koščec

Every time a book from Istros books drop through my door, I know for a fact I’m in for a treat so far this is my fourth books from every one as different as the one before but equally as brilliant as the one before so no to the book from Marinko Koščec. He is a lecturer in French literature for the university in Zagreb, he works as an editor for the Sysprint publishing house and also teaches novel-writing. He has so far published five novel his novel someone else won a big prize in Croatia, this book Handful of sand was nominated for the Jutarnji list award .


Boston Globe: ‘Our Man in Iraq’ by Robert Perisic

By Saul Austerlitz (Published on Apr 11, 2013)

Given the uncountable billions of words they have dedicated to the war in Iraq, it might be easy for Americans to think of it as belonging solely to them. Even its possession by the Iraqis can feel tenuous at times. So it is a refreshing reminder of the new global village to read a novel like Robert Perisic’s “Our Man in Iraq,” which studies the fighting in Baghdad from the distant shores of Croatia.


Toronto Star on Robert Perisic's novel

By: Emily Donaldson (Published on Fri Apr 12 2013)

"When I say Our Man in Iraq is likely to be the best novel you've ever read by a Croatian writer, I'€™m not just cynically gambling that you'€™ve never read any Croatian novels; or rather, I'€™m doing it secure in the knowledge that Robert Perisic'€™s first novel (originally published in 2007) is also terrifically witty and original."


Croatia: from our own correspondent

ANN MORGAN, A year of reading the world

Our Man in Iraq by Robert Perišić, Istros books 2012

'It is a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking story, which, while recalling some of the comic greats that have gone before, add its own brave, quirky and refreshing perspective to the tradition. An unexpected delight.'


Tim Judah on Our Man in Iraq

Our Man in Iraq by Robert Perišić

In general terms, there are only a few tests of a good book. The first and really big one, however, is whether you want to know what happens next. The second, which obviously does not apply if you are reading science fiction or a historical romance, say, is whether you think, “Yes, exactly!” about descriptions of people and places. I am not Croatian, but I am a journalist and I know lots of the people in this book – not literally, of course, but I recognise their characters. All the way through, not only did want to know what happened next, but I kept thinking, “Yes, exactly!”

Tim Judah is Balkans correspondent of The Economist


Tainted Minds

The Times Literary Supplement, 01 June, 2012, Reviews, Fiction
Daša Drndić: TRIESTE
Translated by Ellen Elias-Bursać, 358pp. MacLehose Press

"With Trieste, the Croatian novelist and playwright Daša Drndić has bridged the gap between Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav fiction, between the work of Danilo Kis, say, writing in the Communist era, and that of Nenad Veličković or Vladimir Arsenijević, responding to the genocidal violence unleashed in the 1990s..."


Trieste, by Daša Drndić

Amanda Hopkinson

The Independent

Friday, 24 February 2012

This extraordinary work of fiction concludes with the narrator, Haya Tedeschi, reflecting on all she has compiled in eight long years of research and remembering. "I have arranged a multitude of lives, a pile of the past, into an inscrutable, incoherent series of occurrences... I have dug up all the graves of imagination and longing... I have rummaged through a stored series of certainties without finding a trace of logic."


How Are You? by Barbara Matejčić, a review


"From time to time, a literary work would appear that would succeed in giving a voice to the voiceless ones. How Are You?, an excellent collection of short stories by a Croatian journalist and writer Barbara Matejčić, is one of these literary works.
The author has spent a period of her life with her characters, being with them, helping them and listening to their stories, and her method is hence intrinsically one typical of investigative journalism."
Saša Ilić,


Tea Tulić: The Hair is everywhere (Selection)


Tea Tulić was born in Rijeka (Croatia) in 1978. Her work was published in various Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian and Slovenian literature and cultural magazines including McSweeney’s from San Francisco. In 2011, she won Prozak, a literary award for the best young author’s manuscript, which resulted in publication of her first book, a fragmentary novel Kosa posvuda (Hair Everywhere). The novel received numerous positive reviews and was included in the top five prose books of the 2011 by Vijesnik daily newspaper, The Croatian Ministry of Culture awarded it as one of the best prose books in 2011. Hair Everywhere is also translated and published in UK, Italy, Macedonia and Serbia. In 2014. in cooperation with the musical collective Japanski Premijeri, she published spoken word album Albumče on Bandcamp.
She is a jury member of international short prose competition Lapis Histrae and a member of RiLit, a non-formal group of writers from Rijeka. Her new novel “Maksimum jata” (Flock’s maksimum) is recently published.

CM extensions

Film festivals in Croatia

The Croatian Audiovisual Centre currently co-finances 59 film festivals and other audiovisual events. These serve various functions: they are particularly important for promoting Croatian audiovisual creation and serve as a platform for screening artistic content and non-commercial film forms, which makes them relevant on a local, regional, national and, in some cases, international level.


The Little Black Egg: a punk excursion to Croatia

"It’s called Rijecki Novi Val. (Novi Val is Croatian for New Wave.) This is one of the best collections of anything I ever acquired. Punk and New Wave were huge in the Balkans. I said it once, and I’ll say it again: the ex-YU countries are responsible for the some of the best punk music made anywhere."


An interview with Zdenko Franjić

Starting out in 1987, Croatian record label Slusaj Najglasnije! (or Listen Loudest!) documented many of Croatia’s greatest bands, including Majke, Hali Gali Halid, Satan Panonski, Bambi Molestors, and many others. Over time, Listen Loudest! evolved, and today releases music from artists the world around. The mastermind behind Listen Loudest, Zdenko Franjic, has been kept his label/life mission together for over thirty years without a break.


20 Essential Films for an Introduction to Yugoslavian Cinema

Once upon a time there was a country, and that country made films. The films produced in the former Yugoslavia remain fascinating for anyone interested in the country or in films. This list is by no means definitive, for Yugoslav cinema is too rich and varied for that. It is rather, a primer for those unfamiliar with the region, the best bits from each era and each generation.


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.


Dancing under socialism: rare electronic music from Yugoslavia

In the last couple of years, various collections of electronic music from former Yugoslavia popped up, ranging from numerous downloadable CDR mixtapes to official compilation albums. Yet there are several more waiting in line to be pressed and, as you will see, these are most definitely worth waiting for.


First Croatian newspaper for asylum-seekers, refugees launched

The monthly publication was launched with the aim of establishing closer mutual trust and offering information to people who were forced to leave their homes in search of protection and security, it was said at the launch.
Most of the newspapers' authors are asylum-seekers.


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.


Zagreb Festivals and Cultural Events

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


A History of Eastern European Matchboxes

Although they were produced under strict state-controlled production processes; that were aimed at exploiting them as a means of publicizing political initiatives, promoting public health and safety, and selling the communist ideal both at home and abroad, the artists used them as a vehicle to experiment with various imaginative ideas and artistic techniques, achieving truly stunning results.

Authors' pages

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