The Power of Literature in the Changing World

Projekt „Književnost i svijet koji se mijenja“, koji izdavač V.B.Z. provodi pod pokroviteljstvom programa Kreativna Europa Europske unije, obuhvaća objavljivanje i promoviranje deset visokokvalitetnih romana i stripova europskih i hrvatskih autora. Projekt je tematski podijeljen na dvije glavne okosnice: KNJIŽEVNOST PIŠE ZELENO i KNJIŽEVNOST KOJA UKLJUČUJE. Jedan od ciljeva projekta promocija je hrvatske književnosti u inozemstvu pa će u okviru projekta V.B.Z. nastaviti dobru praksu, već započetu prijašnjom suradnjom s Kreativnom Europom, i objaviti dva hrvatska romana na stranim tržištima u suradnji s britanskim izdavačem Istros Books i talijansko-austrijskim Folio Verlagom.

In these uncertain times of pandemics, war, climate change, economic turmoil, discouraging reports on gender (in)equality or status of LGBT population in Croatia, we have decided to publish books that address these burning issues of today's world and our country.

All ten literary works included in the project problematize some of the European Union's priority issues (themes of environmental crisis, diversity and inclusion, and gender equality). Award-winning literary works and comics are being translated, and the choice of authors reflects the overall theme of gender balance. The project aims to increase the visibility of translators whose names are on the book's cover, and translators also participate in promotions and other promotional activities.

One of the main promotional platforms of the project is the literary festival Vrisak, where authors and translators from the project are guests. Special attention will be paid to digital promotion: promotions will be broadcast live on social media and promoted through podcasts. To emphasize the importance of environmental awareness and increase the project's visibility and message, books are printed on eco-friendly paper.


Pajtim Statovci – Bolla

The novel Bolla by Pajtim Statovci, a Finnish writer of Kosovar origin, is an epic and at the same time lyrical, deeply personal story of love immersed in the "grand history." Like the author's own life marked by inherited trauma, it begins in the Balkans, amidst one of the wars that have lasted for over a quarter of a century, with wounds that are still fresh in some places, blending the collective and the political with the most intimate aspects in an inseparable manner.

The love story at its core is transgressive in every way within its own context: it binds the protagonists with invisible chains that sometimes border on shackles, connecting two students from Pristina - a Serb and a Kosovar - with unfathomable consequences – just before the war, in its whirlwind and aftermath, during a time of scars and wounds. However, this is not a sweet saga of love that transcends gender, national, religious, and other boundaries. Both characters are deeply conditioned by their own past, and their inability to fully surrender to this love will result in two completely different fates, on the edge or at the very heart of crime.

Bolla - a word for a monster from stories and a social outcast - is a portrayal of transitional Kosovo and an emigrant existence in an orderly distant country, a sketch for reproducing deeply rooted stereotypes, and an allegory illuminated by a framework of fairy tale or phantasmagoria, shedding light on the most human aspects within us: in its brightest tones and even more so in its darkest shades.

O autoru

Pajtim Statovci (1990) is one of the most important Finnish writers of the younger generation. Statovci is of Kosovar origin. He studied Comparative Literature at the University of Helsinki, and later pursued Dramaturgy (Screenwriting) at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University. He published his first novel, My Cat Yugoslavia (Kissani Jugoslavia), in 2014, and received the Helsingin Sanomat Prize, the most prestigious Finnish literary award for the best debut novel. His second novel, Heart of Tirana (Tiranan sydän, 2016), was awarded the Toisinkoinen Literary Prize. For his latest novel, Bolla (2019), he received the Finlandia Prize, the most prestigious Finnish literary award, becoming its youngest recipient.


O prevoditelju

Boris Vidović was born in 1961 in Zagreb, and he has spent almost half of his life in Finland. He graduated in Comparative Literature and Philosophy from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, and obtained a master's degree in Literature from the University of Helsinki. He has translated from English and Italian, and currently translates mainly from Finnish. Among his notable translations in the past decade are: Arto Paasilinna, A Charming Mass Suicide (Hurmaava joukkoitsemurha, 2007), Kari Hotakainen, Heart Attacks (Sydänkohtauksia, 2008), Sofi Oksanen, Purge (Puhdistus, 2011), Kari Hotakainen, The Word of God (Jumalan sana, 2014), and Sofi Oksanen, When the Doves Disappeared (Kun kyyhkyset katosivat, 2015).

Mjesečev kamen: Dječak koji to nikad nije bio

Mjesečev kamen – Dječak koji nikad nije postojao – Sjón


The year is 1918. The First World War has ended, Iceland has gained independence, and the passenger ship from Denmark imported the Spanish flu to this island country. The major eruption of the Katla volcano has caused a microclimate crisis. Iceland experienced the coldest winter in its history,
and in the deserted Reykjavík, only the wailing of ambulance sirens and the death rattles of the sick could be heard during those cold days. The country was plagued by poverty, hunger, and disease, and the social life of Reykjavík was reduced to visiting the only two cinemas in the city. This is the story of the greatest pandemic in history from the perspective of a boy, banished from his own body and society.

The main character of the novel is sixteen-year-old Máni Steinn, a gay young man living in a society where homosexuality is unacceptable. Máni loves movies and goes to the cinema daily because there he feels safe and hidden from the rest of the world. In the difficult post-war times that befell Reykjavík, he struggles with the decision of whether to withdraw into the imaginary world of film or to engage with the society that has cruelly rejected him. While people lock themselves in their homes out of fear of the plague, Máni finally feels free. He joins the fight against the pandemic and selflessly helps his fellow citizens.

With his wondrous storytelling ability, Sjón weaves a story about life and death, reality and imagination, secrets and discoveries, outcasts and those who do not fit in, rejection and togetherness.

Moonstone has won the most prestigious Icelandic literary awards and has been translated into 19 languages. In 2023, Sjón received the esteemed Nordic Council Literature Prize awarded by the Swedish Academy.

“A work of miniaturist perfection: a brief, brilliant jewel of a book in which each
paragraph is precision-cut, each sentence burnished.”

O autoru

Sjón (Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson) was born in Reykjavik in 1962. He is one of the founders of Medúsa, a group of neosurrealists that had a significant influence on the artistic life of Reykjavik. He has published seven novels and nine poetry collections, and has also distinguished himself as a playwright, librettist, and author of children's books. His works have been translated into thirty-five languages. For his fifth novel, The Blue Fox, he won the Nordic Council's Literature Prize in 2005, the highest recognition given to writers from the Nordic countries, and the book has been published in 33 countries. His novels, The Whispering Muse (2005) and From the Mouth of the Whale (2008), have also achieved great international success and critical acclaim. His novel Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was (2013) won all the major literary awards in Iceland and has been translated into 19 languages. Sjón is an active participant in the Icelandic visual and music scene. He has written lyrics for many songs by Icelandic singer Björk, and he was nominated for an Oscar for the lyrics of the song from the film "Dancer in the Dark" by Lars von Trier. He co-wrote the screenplay for the film Lamb (2021), for which he received the Nordic Council Film Prize in 2022, becoming the only recipient of this important award in two categories, literary and film. He is one of the screenwriters for the successful epic thriller The Northman (2022). In 2023, Sjón received a significant recognition for his work and overall contribution to literature from the Swedish Academy, the Nordic Prize in Literature. This award is also known as the "little Nobel."

O prevoditeljici

Tatjana Latinović was born in Osijek, and has lived in Reykjavik, Iceland since 1994. She studied English and German language and literature in Croatia, as well as Icelandic language and literature in Iceland. She is engaged in intellectual property issues and is a member of various institutions, such as the Icelandic Technology Transfer Office. She also works as a human rights activist, focusing on immigrant and gender issues. She is a co-founder of W.O.M.E.N. organization in Iceland, the first non-governmental organization representing immigrant women in Iceland. She also served as the Chair of the Immigration Council in the Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Iceland for many years. In May 2019, she was elected President of the Icelandic Women's Rights Association, established in 1907. She was awarded the Order of the President of Iceland in 2019 for her work. Her first translation from Icelandic was published in 2005, and since then, she has translated fifteen titles from Icelandic to Croatian and Serbian, including the poetry collection Polar Circus by Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir, the novels The Blue Fox and Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón, Angels of the Universe by Einar Már Guðmundsson, and Hotel Silence by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir.

Memory of Water

After the Century of Dusk, the world is no longer as we know it. Storms have torn apart continents, polar ice caps have melted, and the Chinese New Qian rules over Scandinavia. Following ecological catastrophes caused by oil wars, the most precious resource is water – and water crime is punished by death. In this post-technological world, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio becomes a tea master - an esteemed position that carries great responsibility and comes with a well-guarded secret: knowledge of the sources of fresh water. However, when the Kaitio family falls apart, Noria must decide whether to follow the mysterious path of her ancestors or embark on a forbidden exploration of the Lost Lands with her only friend, Sanja.

In her debut novel, Memory of Water, Finnish writer Emmi Itäranta tells a tale of a world that has emerged as a consequence of our wrong choices. She does so imaginatively, yet thoughtfully, with lyrical prose, and as a cautionary tale. By narrating an exciting future that is difficult to envision from our own perspective, this dystopian novel has already captivated readers with translations into over twenty world languages.


“Where Itäranta shines is in her rejection of conventional plots and in her understated but compelling characters. The work is a deceptively tranquil examination of a world of dust and ashes where the tenacious weed of hope still survives.”



“A poetic and melancholy debut.”



Emmi Itäranta (b. 1976) is a Finnish writer who writes in both Finnish and English. Her novels are characterised as lyrical dystopias with a strong ecological background. Her debut Memory of Water was translated into more than twenty languages and served as a template for the film. The novel was shortlisted for the Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke and Golden Tentacle Awards and was among the finalists of the Premio Salerno Libro d'Europa. She published two additional novels: The Weaver (american title) / The City of Woven Streets (English title) and The Moonday (2020). Emmi Itäranta lived in the UK for 14 years before returning to Finland in 2021. She lives in the Finnish city of Tampere and continues to write in both languages.


Kristina Špehar-Vuković was born in 1981 in Zadar, to a Croatian-Finnish family. She graduated with a degree in German language and literature and Russian language and literature from the University of Zadar and works as a German language teacher in an elementary school. In her free time, she translates documents, culinary shows, films, documentaries, and other types of texts from Finnish to Croatian. Recently, she has also started translating books. Her published translations from Finnish to Croatian include works such as "Ulkokultaisen käytöksen kirja eli eurooppalaisten tapojen tarina" (Ljubim ruke, milostiva, 2018) by Ari Turunen, "Mulkerot – Patsaalle korotettujen suurmiesten elämäkertoja" (Gadovi, biografije velikana izlivenih u kipove, 2021) by Ari Turunen, "Taivaanpallo" (Nebeski svod, 2021) by Olli Jalonen, and "Koirapuisto" (Pseći park, 2022) by Sofi Oksanen. Ulkokultaisen käytöksen kirja eli eurooppalaisten tapojen tarina (Ljubim ruke, milostiva, 2018.), Ari Turunen, Mulkerot – Patsaalle korotettujen suurmiesten elämäkertoja (Gadovi, biografije velikana izlivenih u kipove, 2021.), Olli Jalonen, Taivaanpallo (Nebeski svod, 2021.), Sofi Oksanen, Koirapuisto (Pseći park, 2022.).

Moving horizon

Pomični Horizont – Daniele Del Guidice

Every continent has its literature, myths and memories which make up stories – Antarctica is no exception, claims contemporary Italian writer Daniel Del Giudice in his novel Movable horizon, winner of the European Union Prize for Literature. Visits to the Earth’s southernmost parts – both real and imaginary ones, are being recorded as carefully as a chronicler and with the heart of a writer. Del Giudice intertwines his journey to Antarctica during the fall of the Berlin wall with the notes made by explorers at the end of the 19th century, the last great adventures, which are historically significant but also inspired by strong passions and mystique. Movable horizont, a genre mix of novel and travelogue and chronicle, is a touching ode to the power of nature in rough icy plains which have been losing their battle against humankind’s advances for the last hundred years. Del Giudice’s Antarctica becomes a great and sorrowful mirror of contemporary world, but its unreal beauty seduces us and leads as into polar vastness following the footsteps of adventurers, sailors and icebreakers.

O autorici

Daniele Del Giudice was born in Rome in 1949. His first novel, Lo stadio di Wim¬bledon, was published in 1983, followed by Atlante oc¬cidentale (1985), Nel museo di Reims (1988), Staccando l‘ombra da terra (1994), Ma¬nia (1997), I-Tigi. Canto per Ustica (2001 and 2009, with Marco Paolini), Orizzonte mo¬bile (2009), In questa luce (2013) and I racconti (2016). Del Giudice is a recipient of many awards: European Union Prize for Literature which he received in 2009 for Movable Horizons, as well as Viareggia Prize, Bagutta Prize, Feltrinelli Prize, and Il Campiello Prize. He has published essays about Italo Svevo, Thomas Bernhardt, Robert L. Stevenson and Primo Levi, and worked many years as a journalist while also teaching Theatrical Literature at the Venetian Theatre Faculty of the IUAV. He died in Venice in 2021.


O prevoditelju

Snježana Husić was born in Zagreb in 1969, where she graduated with a degree in comparative literature and Italian language and literature. After perfecting her craft at Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, she got her doctorate at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, where she spent 22 years teaching Italian literature and literary translation. She has translated more than 50 books from English and Italian languages. She is a two-time winner of the “Josip Tabak” Award given by the Society of Croatian Literary Translators.


Povratak kući – Anna Enquist

In the novel "Homecoming," Dutch author Anna Enquist weaves historical events into the story of the family of the navigator and explorer James Cook, narrated from the perspective of his wife, Elizabeth Batts. Behind Captain Cook's outstanding achievements and fame in the second half of the 18th century lies the layered and trauma-marked yet incredibly resilient life of his wife. Like every sailor's wife, her everyday life is marked by the anticipation of news and the wait for his return. Through the rich inner life of the heroine and her constant self-examination, we also glimpse into the intimate world of James Cook, revealing his vulnerability and shedding the historical invincibility attributed to him.


The story begins with the early shared years of Elizabeth and James Cook, offering a warm and dynamic portrayal of the lives of their six children – some of whom die in their early years, with none outliving their mother – providing depth and breadth to human existence that is often reduced to a few lines in history. Witnessing the deaths of her loved ones, Elizabeth had to rediscover herself countless times and find a reason to continue living. Thus, her story becomes a different kind of exploration, delving into the core of human existence and survival. Thanks to this emancipated, intelligent, and brave heroine, we enter history more deeply and passionately than even the most diligent historians or chroniclers of that era could provide. Lives in the novel span between the gardens along the river Thames and the vastness of the ocean, with each approach to the shore, even one yet to be charted on the map, being a kind of return home.

In this novel, Anna Enquist brilliantly depicts the psychological portrait of Elizabeth Batts, a strong and independent woman ahead of her time..




O autorici

Anna  Enquist (1945) is one of the most esteemed Dutch writers. She studied piano at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and psychology at Leiden University. In 1991, while working as a psychoanalyst, she published a collection of poems titled "Solatenliederen" (Soldier Songs), for which she received the C. Buddingh Award for the best debut poetry. Since then, she has mainly devoted herself to writing. Her first two prose works, "Het meesterstuk" (The Masterpiece, 1995) and "Het geheim" (The Secret, 1997), are psychological novels in which classical music plays a central role. In 2005, she published the significant historical novel "De thuiskomst" (Homecomig), depicting the life of Elizabeth Batts, the wife of James Cook. She received the French Prix du Livre Corderie Royale-Hermione for this novel. In her novels, she often combines the realms of psychology and classical music in a particularly exciting way, which has brought her a broad audience, both in the Netherlands and beyond.

O prevoditelju

Radovan Lučić  was born in 1963 in Zagreb. As a twenty-two-year-old, he left his homeland to try his luck in the Netherlands. In 1995, he earned a master's degree in Slavic Studies at the University of Amsterdam. In addition to regular translation activities, he is involved in applied linguistics, primarily lexicography. He is the author of the Croatian-Dutch Dictionary (Pegasus, Amsterdam, 2013; Dominović, Zagreb, 2014). He has translated works by Dutch and Flemish authors such as Willem Frederik Hermans, Cees Nooteboom, Annie M. G. Schmidt, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Dimitri Verhulst, Geert Mak, and others. He works as an assistant professor of the Croatian language at the University of Amsterdam. In his free time, he plays the cimbalom.