Sanja Pilić is a poetess, writer, and children's writer, who was born in 1954 in Split, Croatia, and currently lives and works in Zagreb. She graduated from the photography department of the School of Applied Arts in Zagreb and has worked as a photographer for theatre, magazines and book publishing, and in a laboratory. She has also been a cartoonist (trick-camerawoman and colorist). She collaborated with the Autonomna ženska kuća (Autonomous Women's House) in Zagreb. She has worked with abused children and is a member of the assessment commissions for children's creativity. Sanja frequently performs in schools and at the literary children's meetings. She is regarded as one of the most widely read Croatian writers for children.
She has won numerous awards, including second place in the Večernji list prize for short stories in 1981 and third place in 2006; the second Radio študent prize, and the review Literatura (Slovenia) prize in 1990; the Grigor Vitez prize in 1990 (for the children's novel All the best about Mums) and 2002 (for the children's novel Puberty Madness, and the Ivana Brlić Mažuranić prize in 1995 for the children's novel Crumbs from the Living-room, and 2001( for the children's stories Teasing, Kidding, Laughing, Fooling, and the Mato Lovrak prize in 2007 for the children's novel What Is Happening To Me? For her achievements in the area of culture and education, she has been awarded the Order of Croatian Danica with the image of Antun Radic.
In 2008 she was included on the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honor List for the children's novel Have I Fallen in Love? The novel Puberty Madness and Crumbs from the Livingroom were turned into a theatrical pieces and performed in Zagreb. In 2010, she was awarded the Kiklop for the children's novel I Want To Be Special! and in 2011 she was awarded the Kiklop for the children's story Maša and the Guests.
Published books for adults. Short story collection: Ah, ludnica/Ah, Madhouse, (Globus, 1986), Faktor uspjeha/The Success Factor (Mozaik-knjiga, 2002), Mala torba, velika sloboda/Small Bag, Great Freedom (Mozaik- knjiga, 2011).
Published books for children. Sanja has published more than thirty books for children including novels, story collections, picture books, and poetry.
Find Sanja online at http://www.sanjapilic.hr.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Everyday life is where I find my inspiration. Ordinary events, the details that make up our lives, the little things, the humor of what goes on.
Describe your creative process.
I always think about what audience I’m writing for, I can see my potential readers in front of me, and I want my heroes to be near to them, for them to be able to identify with them.
Where do you write? Do you have any writing rituals?
I write in bed since the notebook came along. I drink black coffee. I like the day to be sunny and the room to be colorful. My favorite time to create is the morning.
What are you reading now? Do you read literature that has been translated from other languages or just Croatian books?
I like books about spirituality. I’m currently reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink – The Power of Thinking without Thinking. I read Croatian authors, but also translated literature, various anthologies and similar.
What are you working on now?
I just finished writing a new children’s novel called I što sad? /And What Now?
Do you have a favorite English writer?
Shakespeare, Dickens, Townsend, Maugham, Fellowes, Kureishi…
Which Croatian writers or books do you think should be available in English?
Today’s contemporary authors, and children’s books as well … I think we have writers who can stand alongside many successful writers abroad.
What makes Croatian writing unique?
What makes Croatian writing different is the frustration that needs to be overcome because of the fact you’re writing in a small and unimportant language, so you sometimes ask yourself if it’s even worth it. But then again there’s something strangely noble about playing with words and writing for a living, there’s some sort of freedom in it and a pleasure to be found in surviving during a time when literature has lost its importance.