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Croatian author Dubravka Ugresic dies in Amsterdam

March 17, 2023

The Croatian author and essayist left her country in 1993 as Yugoslavia fractured into open conflict. The author of "Ministry of Pain," Ugresic wrote lyrically of the exile experience.

Croatian writer Dubravka Ugresic presented her book 'The Ministry of Pain' in Barcelona in 2006
Ugresic was mentioned as a Nobel contender the last three years before her deathImage: Toni_Garriga/EFE/EPA/dpa/picture alliance

Dubravka Ugresic, the Croatian essayist and novelist, died in Amsterdam aged 73 Friday, Croatian media reported.

The Croatan news agency Hina announced her death, citing Multimedijalni Institut in Zagreb, her native language publisher.

Ugresic was known for her criticism of the nationalism and chauvinism that fractured her native Yugoslavia and for her lyrical writings on the exiie experience.

What is Ugresic known for?

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Yugoslavia hugely influenced the course of her life and works.

Under Franjo Tudjman, President and founder of the post-Yugoslav Croatian state, Croatian state media launched propaganda campaigns against Ugresic, portraying her as a traitor to the nationalist cause. 

She left Croatia in 1993 and later lived in the US and, since 1996, in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Her novel, "The Ministry of Pain," received international acclaim. Her writings focused on the course of late 20th century history and the influence of big events on the lives of individuals.

In 1999, she received the Austrian state literature prize. The following year, the Berlin Academy of the Arts awarded Heinrich Mann Prize.

In 2009, she was a finalist for the Mann Booker Prize.

After she received an award in her native Croatia for the best novel in 2018, she called for more multiculturalism.

For the past three years, she was mentioned as a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature. But Nobels are never awarded posthumously.

ar/msh (AFP, dpa)