Slavenka Drakulić

is a Croatian journalist, novelist, and essayist whose works on feminism, communism, and post-communism have been translated into many languages. She is a founder of Eurozine.

Her most recent book of essays Café Europa: Life After Communism was published by Penguin Random House US in January 2021. Her novels include Mileva Einstein, teorija tuge (Mileva Einstein, the theory of sadness) (Faktura 2016), Dora und der Minotaurus (Dora and the Minotaur) (Aufbau 2016), and As If I Am Not There (Abacus 2013). She lives in Zagreb and Stockholm.

Drakulić’s work has appeared in The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of BooksSüddeutsche Zeitung, Internazionale, The Nation, La Stampa, Dagens Nyheter, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Eurozine, Politiken and The Guardian.


Cover for: A personal reflection

A personal reflection

In memoriam Irena Vrkljan (1930-2021)

A great poet and novelist, one of the most important female writers in Croatia, influenced a generation – even if she was sometimes bewildered by her impact.

Cover for: A reminder of the Srebrenica genocide

Invocations of ‘never again’ often overlook the recent history of genocide, particularly in Europe, with Srebrenica serving as a case in point. Such histories are increasingly being forgotten, marginalized or politically instrumentalized, but Jasmila Žbanić’s film ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ sifts through the contested memories and competing narratives to remind us of war’s devastating human effects.

Cover for: Eastern exodus

Eastern members of the EU are experiencing extreme depopulation, due to a combination of mass emigration and low birth rates. Nationalist governments pander to patriotic sentiments but consistently fail to address the social and political problems which drive young adults westwards.

Cover for: Where to for #MeToo?

Where to for #MeToo?

Four writers assess the movement’s impact in the US and Europe

Following the first wave of the #MeToo movement, a new phase of reflection has set in. Here, four authors and journal editors from the US and Europe assess #MeToo’s achievements and potential, but also its limitations in changing a culture of sexual harassment.

Cover for: Stoking fear

Stoking fear

Why nationalism, in all its forms, demands a response

From the Mediterranean to the Baltic, nationalists in numerous European states are looking to build on the advances they made in 2017. The present surge in nationalism is a threat to the EU itself – but it could have been anticipated, writes Slavenka Drakulić.

Cover for: Playing to the audience

Playing to the audience

The televised suicide of Slobodan Praljak

Croatian war criminal Slobodan Praljak’s televised suicide at the ICTY has made him a hero in his home country and is seen as proof of his innocence. Unfortunately, Croatia’s revisionist attitude towards the recent past has precedents elsewhere in Europe, writes Slavenka Drakulić.

Cover for: Evil, framed

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has found Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladić guilty of genocide for his part in the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica, among other atrocities. Slavenka Drakulić reflects on a photograph from the first days of the Bosnian conflict, and what it tells us about the nature of evil.

Cover for: Tackling the virus of nationalism

Writer Slavenka Drakulić has spent much of her career reflecting on what happened in Yugoslavia in the 1990s – and how difficult it is to combat the ‘nationalist virus’ – in books like ‘Balkan Express’ (1993), ‘As If I Am Not There’ (1999) and ‘They Would Not Hurt a Fly’ (2004). In the light of developments in Spain, she spoke to Spanish online newspaper ‘El Confidencial’ about the potential dangers in the Catalan crisis.

Cover for: Once upon a time in 1989

Once upon a time in 1989

How the West is now learning the hard lessons of the East

In the first of a series of articles from the landmark 50th edition of Transit (to be published in September), author Slavenka Drakulić casts a rueful glance over the expectations – some fulfilled, many frustrated – of the generations that have lived through the changes since 1989.

Cover for: Cologne: The second assault on women

The main issue surrounding the ugly events on New Year’s Eve in Cologne soon turned out not to be the assault of women per se, but the fact that perpetrators were, in police parlance, of “Arab and north-African appearance”. However, writes Slavenka Drakulic, it may well be that the tears of the women in Cologne that night bring bigger changes to Germany and Europe than anyone could have anticipated, least of all the women themselves.

Cover for: Competing for victimhood

Competing for victimhood

Why eastern Europe says no to refugees

Eastern European states are expected to renounce their post-totalitarian victim status and re-gained national homogeneity in order to show solidarity with western Europe in the refugee question. No wonder that they resist, writes Slavenka Drakulic.

Cover for: How women survived post-communism (and didn't laugh)

The situation for women in societies caught up in the post-’89 transition is complicated, writes Slavenka Drakulic. On the one hand, they now stand to lose rights that were, at least formally, established during the communist regime. On the other, women’s position in society has been undermined everywhere in Europe – in East and West alike. The financial crisis has struck hard, and women have been struck harder.

Flirting with a stranger

Women's writing on aging

Aging is a common literary theme though overwhelmingly confined to male writing, writes Slavenka Drakulic. Does dementia provide a culturally acceptable, metaphorical replacement for women’s accounts of aging, and if so why?

A state apparatus that doesn’t function on the level of dogs can’t function on the level of people either, writes Slavenka Drakulic. This week, the Bosnian parliament votes on amendments to the law on animal protection. But what is in fact at stake is the continued dehumanization of society.

Cover for: Creating a space for debate

Creating a space for debate

European cultural journals and the making of the public sphere

As the 25th European Meeting of Cultural Journals commences in Oslo, it is timely to remember that cultural journals have long facilitated a level of intellectual exchange indispensable to societies that put stock in democratic and cosmopolitan spirit. And, as ongoing crisis overshadows the upcoming European elections and the European integration project risks being reduced to the task of reaching formal economic goals, the contribution of cultural journals to a European public sphere is more important than ever.

In the EU’s newest member state, an anti-homosexuality campaign has succeeded in forcing a referendum on the constitutional definition of “marriage”. Typical of a reactionary trend within Croatian civil society, it should warn other countries against failing to form political responses to social frustrations.
Updated on 5 December 2013: Croats voted overwhelmingly in favour of defining marriage in the constitution as a “union of man and woman”.

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