Mirjana Buljan is a freelance writer, translator, and journalist who was born in Niš, Serbia in 1931 and has lived in Zagreb since childhood. She has been publishing poems and short stories since high school and studied English and Slavic languages at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Zagreb. Throughout her career she has published numerous novels for adults and children and written plays and dramas for radio, television, and film. She also was a technical translator in Northern Ireland and a translator and librarian in the Federal Republic of Germany. Her work has been published in Croatian, Albanian, Czech, Danish, English, Hebrew, Hungarian, German, Slovenian, Swedish, and Italian.
Published Books: Nevjesta iz Binča/ The Bride from Binč (Seljačka sloga, 1957), Vrtuljak/Merry-go-round (Zora, 1964), Koŝuta Jesen/The Roe Autumn (Mladinska knjiga, 1967), Dugo putovanje u bijelo /Long voyage into White (Zrinski, 1989), Ludi dani u Ludolandiji/Mutiny in the Crazyland (Založba Mladinska knjiga, 1990), Košuta Jesen i druge bajke/The Roe Autumn and Other Fairytales (Profil International, 1995), Ludi dani u Ludolandiji/Mutiny in the Crazyland, second edition (SysPRINT 2002), Djeca, žene, junaci/Children, women, heroes (vlast. nakl., 2003), Zmija u raju/The Serpent in Paradise, novel (Matica Hrvatska, 2006), Zamračenje/Blackout (AGM 2012), Moja Irska/ My Ireland (2013).
Theater, Radio, and Television: Secret Box (Radio Zagreb, 1970), Reading Jana’s Diary, Grand Prix (Yugoslav Radio Festival, 1971), Balada o pometačici ulica/Ballade of a Street Scraper (Radio Zagreb, 1972), The long voyage into White (Radio Sarajevo, 1974), The Last Night Tramway (Radio Zagreb, 1984), The Seventh Brother (Radio Zagreb, 1991), The Cruise on the Yacht “desaster” (Radio Zagreb, 1992), The Fairy Dance (Radio Ljubljana, 1993), Good Day, Mrs. Alzheimer (Radio Zagreb, 2002), Radio serial The Birthday and several children radio plays. Detective Tchuba (RTV Zagreb, 196O), Music Machine (RTV Beograd, 1971), The Sand (RTV Sarajevo, 1974), The time of Growing Up (RTV Zagreb, 1975), The last voyage into White (RTV Zagreb, represented JRT for Prix Italia), Sasha, documentary of 60 min (HRT Zagreb), Mutiny in the Crazyland (Zagreb Youth Theatre).
Anthologies: Suvremena Hrvatska Novela ii (Zora, 1971), Europäische Begegnungen in Lyrik und Prosa, Germany (Davids-Drucke, 1984), Das Verfolgte Wort, Germany (Davids-Drucke, 1988), Grenzenlos, Germany (Ueberreuter, 1998), New International Plays For Young Audiences, USA (Meriwether Publishing, Ltd., 2002), Der Jaguar im Spiegel, Germany (2010).
Plays in foreign languages: Reading Jana’s Diary, Italian (Radio Koper) and German (Deutschland Radio Berlin), (1971), Secret Box, Hungarian (Koshut Radio Budapest) and Slovenian (Radio Ljubljana), Ballade of a Street Scraper, Italian (Radio Koper), German (Norddeutscher Rundfunk and Bayerischer Rundfunk, RAI, Schweizer Radio and ORF) and Hebrew (Radio Tel Aviv), How was it really with Hänsel and Gretl, German (Bayerischer Rundfunk), Schaban and Dawor, German ((Sender Freies Berlin), The Seventh Brother, German (ORF and Deutschland Radio Berlin), The Fairy Dance, Slovenian (Radio Ljubljana).
Translations: Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll; Dubliners by James Joyce; Cat and Mouse by Günter Grass; The Year Plays, August Strindberg; Yesterday was Today by Ingeborg Drewitz; Whistle by James Jones.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Life itself, people, memories, experiences, emotions, doings.
What are you working on now?
I have just finished a children book and a book of short stories about a unique island which for 30 years has been my second home. At the same time, I am writing a novel about the post-war new rich.
Do you have a favorite English writer?
Yes, James Joyce, most of all, his story “The Dead.”
What Croatian writers or books do you think should be available in English?
This question needs an answer, first of all from literary science and theory. I can mention names of my personal choice out of just a small part of the whole pile. Aside from the classics, the twentieth century writing is very important, especially between World War I and World War II. My favorites are, first of all expressionist Janko Polić Kamov and the greatest poet Tin Ujević, but I like the lyrics of Dobriša Cesarić too. A pearl of a war story is a short novel “Divota prašine” by Vjekoslav Kaleb and there are poets Jure Kaštelan with his “Tifusari” and already known and probably translated by Ivan Goran Kovačić. One of the greatest after war poets is Vesna Parun. Poet and novelist Sibila Petlevski of the contemporary generation is my favorite.
What makes Croatian writing unique?
Is it really?