From my childhood bedroom window I could see the sea. The bay between Split and seven Kaštela. By the sea, I turned reading into a passion for life. I discovered that in the sea everything is bigger and lighter; that stones give clarity; that color doesn’t only change with the light; and that the sea always remains the one, even if its waves are sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller, sometimes higher, sometimes lower, sometimes more dangerous, sometimes calmer.
At eighteen, I left the sea for the first time to devote every day, every hour to German and French literature in Zagreb: in 1995, I graduated with a master’s degree in literature. And I wanted to travel! So I completed diplomatic training in Zagreb and Berlin but quickly realized that diplomacy is not for me: too much politics, too much of what you’re against, not enough of what you’re for. So back to the sea!
Soon after I left again, to follow my heart and move to Germany, to Erlangen, where I still teach German as a foreign language and other languages to people big and small. Another dream realized.
When I was a little girl, I used to lock myself in the bathroom, without a view of the sea, and practice my facial expressions in the mirror, acting out different emotions, trying out gestures and words to go with them, even whole dialogues. During my studies I finally dared to go on the real stage, where dreams come true, and in front of an actual audience. Since then I can’t get enough of it.
I wrote my first poem when I was six years old. It was about an apple that was left unpicked on the tree, withered and fell. Four verses. Four decades later, my debut novel “Every Day, Every Hour” was published by DVA and sold in more than 20 countries before it was even published. A dream is a dream is a dream. I had to walk barefoot in the garden a lot to keep myself from taking flight, to remember to breathe. Happiness has become too small a word these days. Other novels followed, each written in a different place, at a different desk. Each one became the love of my life. Each an attempt to find answers. The search has no end. But I ended up selling the saxophone.
I participated in numerous literary festivals both in Germany and abroad. As a guest of the Goethe Institute, I presented my novels in South Africa and Portugal. I received several German and international awards for my writing. I was a writer in residence in Italy and the USA. Talking to people about books – not academically but from the gut: that is my passion.
Since fall 2020 I have a literary podcast where I read from my novels and short stories in German and Croatian. In between, I invite German- and Croatian-speaking authors as guests to INTERMEZZO. The podcast is proof of how a small idea, carried by a great aspiration, can develop into something great. I am deeply grateful to my listeners!
I am passionate about supporting writers of all ages, individually or in writing workshops. Since 2016, I have also been teaching at the Faber-Castell Writing Academy. I want to teach them to think with their hearts and to bravely break rules. And to read! Read, read, and read again, and never stop reading.
My personal highlight: At Rafik Schami’s invitation, I was one of the six authors in the six-star series for six years: six authors each propose a topic and write a short story on each topic. 6 authors, 6 themes, 6 volumes and at least 36 stories – published by ars vivendi. Oh, how we laughed with animals on our mysterious journeys to birthdays!
Perspectives change. Goals are set anew. Old alliances dissolve, unexpected things emerge or come around the corner, still unseen and unrecognized. The best moment is now!