Miro Gavran's Biography

Explore the captivating journey of Miro Gavran, from his early beginnings to becoming a renowned literary figure, playwright, and novelist.

Who is Miro Gavran?

MIRO GAVRAN is a contemporary Croatian author, born in 1961. His works have been translated into 42 languages, and his books are published in 250 different editions at home and abroad. His dramas and comedies have had more than 400 theatre premiers around the world and have been seen by more than four million theatre-goers.

Miro Gavran portrait

GavranFest

He is probably the only living playwright in the world who has had a festival dedicated solely to his dramas and comedies in five different countries. The festival known as the GavranFest was founded in the city of Trnava, in Slovakia in 2003, moved to Krakow, Poland in 2013, while as of 2016 has been held in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2019 in Augsburg, Germany, 2020 in Belgrade, Serbia. The festival was 2021 again held in Prague, Czech Republic and then in 2022 again in Augsburg, Germany. In 2023 the festival was held in Prague, Czech Republic. In 2024 GavranFest will be held in Munich, Germany.

Plays

Miro Gavran debuted in 1983 with the drama Creon’s Antigone, speaking out forcefully about political manipulation. This was followed three years later by the drama Night of the Gods, the theme being the relationship between the artist and the powers-that-be under a totalitarian system. He then wrote a cycle of plays concentrating on male-female relations, in which his heroes were often great historical persons. He has created a series of complex female characters. His heroines are both strong and emotional. He has written 55 plays to date, including Death of an Actor, All About Women, All About Men, George Washington’s Loves, Chekhov Says Good-Bye to Tolstoy, How To Kill The President, Greta Garbo’s Secret, Laughing Prohibited, Parallel Worlds, Nora in Our Time, My Wife’s Husband, Dr Freud’s Patient, The Doll, Ice Cream, Beer, Your Every Birthday, The Perfect Partner, The Coffee at Noon, The Spokesman...

There have been first nights of his plays throughout the world, in Rotterdam, Washington, Moscow, Paris, Avignon, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Buenos Aires, Waterford, Mumbai, Bratislava, Prague, Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Krakow, Belgrade, Budapest, Podgorica, Athens, Augsburg, Vienna, Sofia, Bucharest, New York, Rome, Los Angeles, Riga, Vilnius, Melbourne, Mumbai, München, Istanbul, Tel Aviv…

Novels

He has published eleven novels: Forgotten Son, How We Broke Our Legs, Klara, Margita or A Journey into a Former Life, Judith, John the Baptist, Pontius Pilate, The Only Witness to Beauty, Kafka’s Friend, A Few Birds and One Sky and Portrait of a Soul. He has published two collections of short stories entitled Small Unusual People and Stories of Solitude, one poetry collection entitled Poems and the poem The defence of Jerusalem.

In his early novels, he describes the life in the Croatian provinces, featuring everyday folk, anti-heroes of sorts, who retain a positive stance towards life even when they are confronted with injustice and major difficulties. This is perhaps best seen in his novel, Forgotten Son (1989), in which the central personage is a slightly mentally challenged young man of twenty.

As a forty-year-old, Gavran started to write psychological-existential novels inspired by biblical characters, bringing them nearer to the sensibilities of contemporary readers. These books have been popular with both believers and non-believers, since their messages are universal.

His books have been published in all corners of the globe: in Beijing, Vienna, St Petersburg, Oslo, Istanbul, Paris, Prague, Bratislava, Sofia, Ljubljana, Cairo, Amsterdam, Jaipur, Tokio…

Children’s Books

Filling his work with insight and humour, Miro Gavran has written ten books for children and young people: All Sorts of Things in My Head, How Dad Won Mum, Head Over Heels in Love, Happy Days, Farewell Letter, Plays with a Head and a Tail, Try to Forget, Plays for children, The Teacher of My Dreams and A Summer to Remember. These books have also found their way to adult readers.

Miro Gavran holding a gold award

Awards

Gavran has received over 30 literary awards in Croatia and abroad, including the CENTRAL EUROPEAN TIME Award, given annually in Budapest to the best Central European author for the overall opus, as well as the EUROPEAN CIRCLE Award given to writers for the confirmation of European values in their texts. He also received the prestigious European Dr. Alois Mock Europa-Preis award in Viena.

Miro Gavrans Timeline

He graduated in Dramaturgy at the Academy of Theatre, Film andTelevision in Zagreb.

He first worked as a dramaturge and artistic director at the famous &TD Theatre in Zagreb from 1986 to 1992. Since January 1993, he has been living and working as a professional writer. His theatrical and prose texts have been included in numerous anthologies and chrestomathies in Croatia and abroad, and his work is studied at numerous universities around the world.

He is one of the few European playwrights who has had a premiere of a play in the most important American theatre centre, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford in 1999, with the play Kings and Stablemen.

In April 2014, he was elected a member of the Russian Academy of Literature in Moscow, whilst in May of the same year he was elected as an associate member of the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts in Zagreb. In November 2016, Gavran became a member of the Slavic Academy of Literature and Art, whose headquarters are in the Bulgarian city of Varna.

In December 2017 he received the prestigious European Dr. Alois Mock Europa-Preis award in Viena. The Alois Mock award has been has been given for fourteen years already to notable individuals who, in the spirit of the European idea of community, have promoted European values and unity through their literary or journalistic work, activities in the public sector, in organizations or in business.

In March 2018, he received the Gold Medal for Services to the Republic of Austria from the president of the Republic of Austria.

In September 2018, the Academia Cravatica from Zagreb named him the first Croatian Ambassador.

Since 2015, the literary and theatrical event Flight with Gavran has been held in Nova Gradiška every autumn, and the first year of the international symposium Miro Gavran – Prose and Theatre Writer was held, and the year after that, a collection of the same name with texts by 16 authors from four countries was published. In 2019, Miro Gavran was declared an honorary citizen of Nova Gradiška.

In the spring of 2019, Miro Gavran Days event was held in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in the same year he was declared an honorary citizen of Nova Gradiška.

In the spring of 2019, the Miro Gavran Days event was held in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In October 2021, he received the Josip and Ivan Kozarac Lifetime Achievement Award, and in November of the same year, he was elected President of Matica Hrvatska.

In May 2022, he received the popular Večernjakov Pečat – Person of the Year Award in the culture category, and in June of the same year, he was declared an honorary academician of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Mostar. In April 2023. Gavran received the Antun Branko Simic Award for his novel Defense of Jerusalem. The Association of Croatian Veterans of the 1991 Homeland War, in cooperation with other Associations arising from the Homeland War, named Miro Gavran it's Person of the Year 2023 for her literary achievements in the country and abroad.

He has lived in Zagreb since he was twenty years old. He is married to the actress Mladena Gavran, with whom he founded the Gavran Theatre in 2002. His son Jakov is also an actor.

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