Academician Dragoslav Mihailović passed away

It is with deep regret that the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts announces the passing of its full member Dragoslav Mihailović (b. Ćuprija, 17 November 1930) aged 93, one of the most prominent contemporary Serbian writers, on 12 March 2023.

He completed the high-school final exam in his hometown in 1949 and then enrolled at the Department of Yugoslav Literature and Serbo-Croat Language at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. The following year he was arrested, and after spending time in prisons in Ćuprija, Kragujevac and Belgrade, he was imprisoned in Goli Otok Camp, where he remained until the summer of 1952.

He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy in early 1957. He emerged into the literary scene in 1967 with his collection of short stories titled ‘Frede, laku noć [Good Night, Fred] which was awarded the October Prize. The next year, he published a novel titled ‘Kad su cvetale tikve’[When Pumpkins Blossomed]. He wrote the eponymous play, based on the motifs from this novel, which premiered in the Yugoslav Drama Theatre in 1969, however, due to multiple political attacks and pressure, it was removed from the repertoire. Despite the censorship, the novel gained the status of an iconic book. In 1974, he worked as a Serbo-Croat language lector at the University of Poitiers. He published the novel titled  ‘Petriin venac’ [Petrija’s Wreath] the following year. For the novel titled ‘Čizmaši’[Boot Wearers], he received NIN Award, in 1983.

His tragic, personal experience as a Goli otok prisoner gave birth to his documentary prose work titled ‘Goli Otok’, which was published in five volumes (1990-2012), and brought together disturbing testimonies of camp survivors.

As a SASA corresponding member, he was elected in 1981, and as its full member in 1988. He founded the Academy Board for the Study of Repression (Goli Otok and other camps and prisons). He also initiated a specialized library under the title ‘Goli otok’ in the SASA Library, in 2015.

His works have been translated into English, French, Slovenian, Macedonian, Hungarian, Romanian, German, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Greek, Japanese and other world languages.

He is a recipient of numerous notable awards and recognitions, such as Andrić’s Award in 1976; Golden Arena for a screenplay in Pula in 1978; Bora Stanković Award in 1994; Award of the National Library of Serbia in 1985; Vuk’s Endowment Prize in 1994; Kočić’s Award in 201 and ‘Ramondia Serbica’ Award in 2016.

With his rich and diverse genre opus, characterized by an innovative approach to selecting themes and styles, Mihailović cemented his status as a classic of national literature.

His passing represents a great loss for the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, as well as for overall Serbian society and culture.