"Titoland" in LA

I am excited to announce my first reading in Los Angeles: 13 February 2013 at 7

at Max Kade Institute, USC

2714 S. Hoover Street, Los Angeles, California 9

I will read from "Titoland" and Angela Thompson will read from "Blackout" (a story of her mother's escape from East Germany). After the reading, we will talk to Prof. Sarah Pratt about lives between communism and capitalism. Reception to follow the program.  Join us if you are in LA!

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Nomination for MIA Award 2013

I am very excited to announce my nomination for the MIA Award 2013 in category "Art and Culture". MIA Award is given annually to women with migration backgrounds who are especially successful in their field in Austria and who are active advocates in the issues of migration and women.

The award is handed out by the President of Austria, Dr. Heinz Fischer.

Please cross your fingers for me on 8 March 2013!

Link to my nomination:

MIA Awards 2013

 

Literaturhaus Rezension "Tiotland"

Die 1974 in Zagreb geborene Autorin legt mit diesem als Roman ausgewiesenen Prosatext eine fiktionalisierte Autobiografie ihrer Kindheit und frühen Jugendjahre im ehemaligen Jugoslawien vor. Erzählt wird die Zeit vom unfreiwilligen Eintritt in den Kindergarten bis zur mehr oder weniger erzwungenen Übersiedlung und also Emigration nach Österreich im Zuge des Balkankrieges. Die Tochter einer Filmschauspielerin und eines Architekten blickt auf einen ereignisreichen Start ins Leben zurück, das trotz des autoritären Führungsstils eines Josip Broz alias Tito nicht nur in vorgezeichneten Bahnen verlief, sondern ungeahnte Möglichkeiten zur individuellen Entfaltung bot, was sicherlich auch dem gesellschaftlichen Status der Eltern geschuldet war. 

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Robert Misik on "Titoland"

I am very excited about the wonderful review of "Titoland" Austrian journalist and political author Robert Misik wrote on his blog. If you read German, here is the link.

Also, the book is sold out on Amazon.de, it is currently on place 26,000 in books, place 1 in books about Yugoslavia, 4 in biographies from eastern europe and 60 general biographies.

Thank you to my readers!

 

"Titoland" coming in March 2012

I am ecstatic to announce that my new book "Titoland: Eine gleichere Kindheit" will be published by Czernin Verlag in March. “Titoland” is a portrait of  Yugoslavia in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Driven by Tito’s  charisma and political skills, the country managed the impossible: a balance between East and West, Communism and Capitalism. What appear to be loosely connected childhood memories of Summers on the seaside, travels to “the outside,” or the happiness of wearing a self-made (and therefore unique) dress, create a rich literary tableau before the backdrop of the gradual collapse of Tito’s Empire. The childhood does not end abruptly, but breaks up painfully, piece-by-piece, like the country in which I live. What follows is a leap into the unknown.

Book presentation will be in April in Vienna - stay tuned for details.

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"Von der Barbie zum Vibrator" is out!

"Von der Barbie zum Vibrator" was presented in Jenseits on 9 June. I had the most fantastic audience ever - a huge thank you to everyone who was there! We had lots of fun. The crowning of the evening was Roman Rafreider, Austria's most handsome TV presenter, who announced a report about my book presentation on ZIB 24 (the evening news) - there was something very sexy in hearing this guy pronounce my name.... Made me want to write many, many new books.

The link to the report (which I will not comment on) is below - it starts at 19'08.

ZIB 24

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Working....

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Partying....

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And eating!

Wearing my Book Cover

Today, I was sitting in Palmenhaus and drinking coffee with my friend Ines who is a stylist and an image consulter. And of course we came to the topic “What am I going to wear to my book presentation!!!!???” (Yes, my tussi-cells shrank in past years but will never completely disappear). So we had a long talk about what I would like to, should and should not be wearing. And then I remembered a dress with the same black-and-white pattern like my book cover. Just need to ad something pink and I am wearing my book. Ines really liked the idea, but then she added “Good that you didn’t wear your book cover in Croatia. Or maybe a pity – would have definitely boosted the sales.” I was naked on my Croatian cover.

I think we should make it into a rule that writers wear their book covers. Would make book readings much more entertaining.

P.S. This goes to Martina for her comment on my last post

Von der Barbie zum Vibrator @ Die Zeit

It has been my big honour and privilege to write an article about my own book for Die Zeit, one of the best German weekly newspapers. The topic of the article is "what happened since then" - basically how have things changed in this crazy house, pictured in "From Babrie to Vibrator", since I've written the book. It has been an excellent exercise for me to put in words what I have strongly felt in past years - we sobered up, grew up, became more mature and unfortunately less wild. But that is life, and it is good the way it is.The article came out yesterday, here the link (in German): Die Zeit

For the PDF version, go to "Press".

What I read and what I don't

I was asked by a very cool Austrian magazine called Datum to fill out their monthly column called “I do read & I don’t read”. Seems like an easy task, but when you start thinking about it, it is quite a challenge.I read I read books that open my horizons: which I can either learn something from or which transport me into a (better) new world. Mostly, I read non-fiction, and always a few books about one topic that currently occupies my mind. Right now, I am still reading books about fairy tales (Marie-Louise von Franz and Sheldon Cashdan). I just finished reading Iranian female authors (Marjane Satrapi and Azar Nafisi). Before that, I was reading about the influence of the capitalistic system on romantic relationships and human character (Eva Illouz and Richard Sennett). But I always read a few different books. So I am currently also reading “Elite” by Julia Friedrichs, a young German journalist writing about what/who is the German elite and how it is being defined and formed. I am starting to read Eric Berne’s “What do you say after you say hello?”. I don’t read much fiction because it is quite hard for me to find a piece of fiction that grabs, and keeps, my attention. When I do find something I like, I read a few books by the same author. I adore Jane Austin for her virtuosity with language, for her hidden critique of the society and for her happy endings. I read all her books. I like Frédéric Beigbeder, also for the amusing portrait and critique of the society. I read most of his books. I also read most of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s books. And I loved books by Jonathan Carroll. The last master piece of non-fiction I read was Mesa Selimovic’s “Fortress”. The only book I re-read is Lao-Tzu’s Tao Te Ching And then I read magazines: Falter, Spiegel, Die Zeit. On weekends, I read Der Standard. Every now and then, I make a trip through internet and read The Daily Beast, Huffington Post and Newsweek. When I want to relax my grey cells, I read Gloria (Croatian gossip magazine) or Gala. I read my horoscope on www.astro.com. I read Maureen Dowd’s column in New York Times, I read the weather forecast on pg. 602 on Teletext. I read user manuals and package inserts. I read graffiti and stickers when I walk through Vienna. I read e-mails. I read my friends’ status on Facebook. And I read the tattoo between his shoulder blades.

I don’t read As said, I don’t read much non-fiction because mostly, it just feels like I am wasting time I could use to learn or experience something new. I don’t read chick-lit, historic novels, romantic novels. I used to read British Vogue, and sometimes Croatian or French Elle but I stopped because they bore me now. So I don’t read any women’s magazines. I don’t read daily newspapers because I have no time – I check news in internet. I never read the same book twice. I don’t read ads. I don’t read the credits after a movie as much as I’d like to. I don’t read self-help books, because they are either too simplified or repeat theories I’ve already learned elsewhere. I wanted to read Charlotte Roche’s “Feuchtgebiete” to see what the fuss is about but then I read readers’ feedback on Amazon and decided not to. Which, as I heard her read from the book on 3sat, proved to be a good decision. Shocking just for the purpose of it is not necessary. Neither in art nor in literature. I have unfortunately not read the Bible nor the Koran, which I would love to, but I haven’t found the time yet. I read the Gnostic gospels of Nag Hammadi and they spell bounded me. I’d like to read more of Marcel Proust, Tolstoy and Chekhov so I plan to go back to them one day. My father gave me a collection of English gothic novels, but I didn’t get to read those yet. I don’t read enough of Austrian authors, which I feel I should. I don’t read the small print (AGBs) and I know I should. And nothing else comes on my mind. Because I simply don’t. Link: Datum

Long live literature!

We have a new scandal in Croatia and this one is a fantastic illustration of how masses are being brainwashed into idiots (and they even pay for it) and how our society is facing a complete crash of its values. Each year, a book fair in Pula gives out an award called “Kiklop” for the most sold and read book. This year, the price goes to a lady called, yes: Nives Celzijus. As the name implies, Nives is a starlet with huge implants. Something like Croatian Carmen Electra. She wrote an autobiography about sex&drugs&rock’n’roll in Croatian jet-set, the book sells for only €4 – and it sold in 47,000 copies (!!!!!!). When you consider that Croatia has 4 million inhabitants, this is a mega-mega-mega-bestseller (something like selling 3,5 mio. Books in USA). Now the Croatian Authors’ Association is protesting, the chairman of the award has resigned, some writers returned their “Kiklop”s, and as it seems that it was decided to cancel the award for this year. There are huge discussions, although the situation is clear – it is all about the criteria. You simply have to decide if you will allow porns to compete for awards with art movies….. Lesson learned: shit sells. In millions.

P.S. The lady came to get her award in black leather and a whip in her hand. And 2 boys in leather strings.

The Tour

The book tour was a fantastic but tiring experience. A friend, a great American writer who just finished his tour told me “I think I'd rather have eye surgery on a helicopter than do another book tour.” No, it’s not that bad - we are just a bit exhausted when it’s over. It takes a lot of energy to sit in front of the audience, always with a new moderator who is a very clever person and discuss things like emancipation, crisis of a system, confusion of a generation and your private experiences. Then come the interviews….. But it is extremely rewarding meeting people who are interested in what you do, write and think. I had some great questions from the audience. So here a big THANK YOU to everybody who came and supported me on this great adventure.

And here a task to my readers and friends:

In Sibenik, I was interviewed for the national television by a young and very charming reporter. He obviously contemplated about his questions because he started the interview with a great one: “So, what happens when Barbie finds the vibrator?”

I have to admit I was so confused by the question that I asked them to stop shooting and give me a moment to think. Not very cool, isn’t it?

I still don’t have the answer….

This is why I was thinking: The readers of this blog seem to be clever, witty and fun people, so why not ask you guys to help find a good answer?

So, tell me:

What happens when Barbie finds the vibrator?

Pula: Zdenka Viskovic, a writer who understands my book better than I do. And Vlado Mandic, a journalist from Glas Istre.

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Zagreb: Zdravko Zima, a literary critic and a fantastic mind. And Sandra Mlakar, my ediotr.

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I love Pula

My book tour started in Pula, the ancient Roman city on the north of the Croatian coast. The presentation was fantastic - and completely different from my presentation in Zagreb in May, as the book just came out. In Zagreb, I was asked only about the parties, the men and shopping. In Pula, my book was presented by Ms Zdenka Viskovic-Vukic, a poet and president of Pula Film Festival. Zdenka understood what the book really is about and for one hour, we talked about the pain of growing up under the pressure of today's deformed society, about trying to find real values in this mass of artificial values, about the process of putting it all out and shedding your skin - in order to find the true YOU. The audience was fantastic. I hope that the rest will run just as good. Thank you, Zdenka. And thank you, Pula.

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There is a reason why you have to study to become a translator!

O.K. I gave it a try. I really did. Gave my best.

This weekend, I translated the first two stories from my book from English to German. My Austrian publisher and I hoped that I could translate my book myself – it is a different thing if  you are a translated author or an “at home” author. Well, I obviously don’t have a home…

Good girl I am, I translated whole Sunday long and then gave my piece of art to my neighbour Marcus to correct it so that I get a feeling of how wrong it is.

Next morning, Marcus came into my apartment in his pyjama, with a cup of coffee in his hand, sat on my couch and looked… well ... grim.

“Many mistakes” he said, a bit uncomfortable in the “don’t shoot the messenger” manner. I begged him to be honest – my career as an Austrian author (or not) was at stake. So, I made myself a toast and a cup of tea and sat down next to him so he could explain the mistakes. “The cases are wrong. There are many typos. And there are things you just cannot say like that in German.” “O.K. but once those things are corrected; does it sound like… something?” I wanted to say “a piece of literature” but didn’t dare. Marcus was speechless. O.K. I got it. It’s crap.

He started explaining the mistakes. And I don’t remember the last time I laughed that much. There is nothing sweeter than laughing about yourself. We were cracking down with the second page (“What the hell is this, a sentence????!!!”) when I told Marcus we should actually film those correcting sessions and make them into “Laudonplace Big Brother” – the jokes (actually my translated texts) were funnier than any reality show I’ve ever seen before.

The conclusion is: my book gets a translator and I get a course in German writing. It is sad but true: I am definitely not an Austrian author. Neither am a Croatian author. And I am for sure NOT a translator. I’m nothing. And everything.

 

99F (The Film)

99F, a movie based on Frédéric Beigbeder’s bestselling book has finally arrived to Austria. The movie is excellent for those who haven’t read 99F, are curious, but cannot bother reading it.

99F became a bestseller as it came out in 2000 because it spoke openly about the Sodom and Gomorra of the advertising world - the drugs, the prostitutes, the travels, freakiness. Let’s not forget - end of 1990s were the golden times of advertising. And this is the movie’s problem - the topic is outdated  (now we need a movie about freaking Wall Street wizards). Advertising world has changed greatly since then – yes, it became boring. The companies are not uncontrollably shovelling money into advertising as they used to, everyone wants to just play safe, the agencies are holding creatives on a shorter leash and drugs are consumed in much smaller doses.

But exactly the timing - the fact that we are currently standing in the middle of a painful awakening - gives the movie a huge plus. Because in his book, Frédéric used the frentic world of advertising to criticize our imbecile, irresponsible, consumerist state of mind. This is exactly the state of mind which brought us to the current crash of the economy and also of the whole socio-political system.

The movie is definitely fun to watch - it is like being dipped into a big, colourful, juicy comic. A great game with reality on one side, a bit too chaotic on the other. The trick of dividing the story into “I”, “You”, “He” chapters, which was unnecessary in the book, is only confusing in the movie. The book suffers an overdose of advertising tricks, and so does the movie but here, this overdose serves its purpose. I missed a few of the best scenes from the book. I also missed the direct criticism and some great thoughts from the book. But hey - can’t have it all!

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