The Angelus Goes to Miljenko Jergović

place: Wroclow, Poland
The Sarajevo émigré writer based in Zagreb Miljenko Jergović received the Angelus Central European Literature Award on Saturday. He was given the award for his book " Srda pjeva, u sumrak, na Duhove," translated by Magdalena Petrynska.

The award was presented at a gala ceremony on Saturday at the Capitol Music Theater in Wrocław.

The Angelus Central European Literature Award is given to the best book published in the Polish language in the year previous. The award consists of the Angelus statuette (created by Ewa Rossano), and a check for 150,000 zł. Living writers born in the 21 countries of Central Europe can be nominated for the award. Every publisher can put forward one book by a foreign author, and one by a Polish author.

Miljenko Jergović (born 1966 in Sarajevo, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia) is a Bosnian prose writer. Jergović currently lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia, having moved there in 1993.

Jergović is one of the most colorful figures of the public scene, polemicist without mincing words that slowly turns into a star of European literature. He is not shy to discuss about literature, the differences between Zagreb and Sarajevo, Kusturica and Aralica, John Lovrenović and those who attacked him, and about how Sarajevo today, and how it (once) or is not any (now). Miljenko Jergovic already set up in the pose of the classics, which do not tolerate human weakness, moral deviation and ideological diversion.

Jergović received his B.A. in literature from the Sarajevo University. While at high-school, he started working as a journalist in printed and electronic media, as a contributor to literary and youth magazines, and was soon recognized as Croatia’s media correspondent from Sarajevo. Jergović is one of the most widely read and translated writers of the younger generation in the South Slav region.

Critics praise his storytelling skills, his ability to create a compelling atmosphere, his lyricism and his sentimentality, his immersion in history and his ability to incorporate tradition into contemporary prose. Some critics, however, consider his later works to be too lengthy, too insistent on the intertwining of different nations’ destinies, as well as too arbitrary. They believe that the voice of the omniscient narrator is too pronounced. Praised or criticized, Jergovic is doubtlessly one of the most important contemporary writers in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has received numerous literary awards, both domestic and foreign.

(D.H., 22.10.2012)