Dinko Telećan was born in 1974 in Zagreb, Croatia. In 1999, he graduated in philosophy and English language and literature from the University of Zagreb. During the past two decades he has been writing poetry, prose, and essays as well as translating from English and Spanish as a freelance translator and works as an editor in literary publishing and on the Third Programme of the Croatian Radio.
Dinko has won various awards for his translations and essays, among them the annual award of the Croatian Literary Translators' Association for the translation of J. G. Frazer's Golden Bough in 2002 and for Robert Graves’ Poems Selected by Himself in 2014, as well as the award for the best non-fiction translation at the Sarajevo Literary Fair in 2006 for the translation of Slavoj Žižek's The Ticklish Subject. He won the European Prize for Poetry at the Festival of Poetry in Curtea de Argeş, Romania, in 2013. His novel Deserter won the 2014 Krunoslav Sukić Book of the Year Award. The Sukić award is dedicated to pacifism, non-violence and human rights. At the Writers' Festival in Trivandrum in 2014, Dinko was awarded the Sahitya Shree Honorary Award for his contribution in the field of literature.
Selections from his work have been translated into Catalan, English, Galician, German, Greek, Hungarian, Macedonian, Romanian, Slovakian, Slovenian, and Spanish.
Published books. Poetry: Kreševa/Clashes, (Igitur, 1997), Vrtovi & Crvena mijena/Gardens & Red Phase, poetry, (AGM, 2003) Iza/Beyond (AGM, 2005), Plast igala/Needlestack (Hrvatsko društvo pisaca, 2011), Metaphysical study: Sloboda i vrijeme/Freedom and Time (PUBLISHER, 2003), Travel books: Lotos, prah i mak/Lotus, Dust and Poppy (Jesenski i Turk, 2008) and Azijska suita/Asian Suite (Sandorf, 2015), Essays: Pustinja i drugi ne-vremeni ogledi/The Desert (Sysprint, 2009), Novel: Dezerter/Deserter (Algoritam, 2013).
Anthologies. His poems in English were published in anthologies Poets' Paradise, The Fancy Realm and Poetic Bliss (Guntur, India, 2010–12).
Translations. More than sixty books including novels, poetry, scientific books, books of essays and lectures, including authors as various as J. G. Frazer, J. L. Borges, Kahlil Gibran, Richard Flanagan, Ernesto Sabato, Slavoj Žižek, H. D. Thoreau, Terry Eagleton, Stephen Greenblatt, Robert Graves, Julio Cortázar and Roberto Bolaño). Dinko also translates for radio and television programs.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Practically anything: things I see, people I meet, defeats I have to face, good red wine, and of course, books I read. Travels are particularly inspiring.
Describe your creative process.
It’s always different. In fact, I rarely have a daily writing routine, except in cases when I’m finishing a larger book, or when a period appears in which I don’t have too many obligations apart from writing. I write by night. Sometimes I polish what I’ve written for many days or weeks, sometimes I leave it alone and return to it after a long time to see if it’s worth showing to anyone.
Where do you write? Do you have any writing rituals?
Everywhere I can, but usually not in bed. No rituals, but I do prefer paper. Actually, I can’t imagine myself writing a poem, at least the first draft, on computer. It has to be paper and pen.
What are you reading now? Do you read literature that has been translated from other languages or just Croatian books?
I’m reading an early novel of Srđan Valjarević, an excellent Serbian writer, and Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments. Of course I read books translated from other languages, as well as books in other languages. I mean, I’m a translator.
What are you working on now?
As a translator, I’m working on The White Goddess by Robert Graves. As a writer, I’m trying to round up a book of poetry.
Do you have a favorite English writer?
Well, it would be difficult to pick out a single one. Let me just mention John Donne, G. M. Hopkins, Malcolm Lowry, T.S. Eliot. Shakespeare would be too obvious, wouldn’t he?
What books of Croatian writers or books should be available in English?
Poets like Tin Ujević or Nikola Šop, to name some of those who are already classics here. Or young and prolific writers like Ivan Vidić or Neven Ušumović.