SASA Member David Albahari passed away

It is with profound sorrow that the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts announces the passing of its full member David Albahari (b. Peć, 15 March 1948) aged 75, one of the most prominent contemporary Serbian writers, on 30 July 2023.

He studied the English language and literature in Zagreb. He entered the literature scene with his collection of short stories ‘Family Time’ in 1973. Critics and readers recognized one of Yugoslav literature’s most gifted author voices already in his first works.

He received the Ivo Andrić’s Award in 1982 for the collection of stories titled ‘Description of Death,’ while for his collection of stories ‘Cape,’ he was presented with the Stanislav Vinaver and Branko Ćopić awards in 1993.

In the period between 1973 and 1994, he worked in several Belgrade and Novi Sad magazines and publishing houses offices, such as – ‘Vidici’, ‘Književna reč’, ‘Pismo’, ‘Kulture Istoka’, ‘Politika’, ‘Mezuza’, ‘Prva knjiga’ edition of Matica Srpska.

His novel ‘Bait’, which features some of the main topics from his work opus, such as family history and the Holocaust, was rewarded with the NIN Award for the best novel in 1996, as well as with the National Library of Serbia Award, and the Balkanika and Most Berlin awards. The family chronicle topic unfolded through a story about a father in the novel ‘Zinc’, published in 1988, while the Holocaust topic recurs in his numerous works, particularly in the book ‘Gotz and Meyer’ published in 1998.

As an external member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, he was elected in 2006. He was a member of the PEN Centre and the Serbian Literary Society. The years between 1994 and 2012, he spent in Calgary (Canada).

He was a literary translator. He translated the works of Saul Bellow, Vladimir Nabokov, Margaret Atwood, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Thomas Pynchon. He also translated the plays of Sam Shepard, Caryl Churchill, Sarah Kane and Jason Sherman.

He published 20 collections of short stories and 15 novels, as well as four books of essays. His works have been translated into numerous world languages.

With his rich opus, characterized by outstanding stylistic innovation, he has gained the status of an iconic writer of Yugoslav and Serbian literature.

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