Home  •   About Us  •   Catalogue  •   Author Gallery   •   Contact  •   News  •   Resources

Antigone Now
from Collected Plays II

Antigone Now
, Ganakrishti Theater Company, Kolkata, India, Indonesia, 2011

Hubris in the 21st Century

Antigone of Antigone Now is called Clara and lives in a seaside town somewhere on the Mediterranean coast. In order to create jobs and bring prosperity to the area, her uncle, the mayor, strikes a deal with foreign investors to build a large golf course and an expensive hotel. For this he needs to demolish the local graveyard and move the corpses to a crematorium he intends to build. But Clara refuses to surrender her dead brother's grave. She believes that, even in a world where everything can be bought, there are places that must remain sacred. In the ensuing confrontation we are shown how the common good (which, in the brutal neoliberal capitalism, is merely a mask for profit-seeking) cannot win without destroying personal values and thus subverting its own declared aims. Is tragedy still possible in the 21st century? Antigone Now is an attempt to answer that question.

However, tragedy as practiced by Sophocles and defined by Aristotle belongs to the world and a worldview that no longer exist. In the past 25 centuries the definition itself has been redefined so many times that today's Antigone cannot avoid being (next to whatever else it aims to be) an exploration of the changes that have taken place in the way we perceive reality, and changes in dominant values, and consequently in our motivations and moral as well as ethical inclinations. Not only of the changes but also of similarities, of those elements that are quintessentially human, unchangeable, part of the ground of our being. And so a contemporary Antigone, if it wants to avoid being a pastiche, cannot work except as a dispute with the original one, and as a confirmation of its eternal relevance at the same time.

If we start off by saying that every time you leave your house you enter a world of politics, and that politics can be defined as "civil war carried on by other means" or "the peaceful settlement of disputes," we immediately face the question how individuals arrange things when they have to take into consideration the others who are fighting for the same (or their own) advantages. Threats, bribery, compromise, deceit, persuasion, unholy alliances? This is politics, all the way from the classical family unit to the village to the city to the state to the world as a whole. And in the world where everything sooner or later boils down to politics (including the interpretation of values and history), we are never more than a step away from hubris, which is Sophocles' main concern.

When asking myself how the theme of Antigone could be relevant today I soon realized that her steadfastness, in Sophocles' times perceived as obstinacy, was really, in modern terms, an extreme form of individuality that seems to be (or rather is) a desired norm in the modern and postmodern society. In today's terms, I came to believe, the main theme of Antigone is no longer the conflict between a belief in traditional values and right based on might (or, to vary it slightly, between personal and social values, between self-interest and the common good), but a conflict between two kinds of extreme individuality: between unyielding belief in one's right to be a free agent, unfettered by the needs and wishes of others, and a deep-seated (and systematically fostered, even advertised) desire for personal gain masquerading as common good. Of course, there is such a thing as the common good, no less than the individual's right to choose for himself, but somewhere along the way, for society to remain healthy and avoid breakdown, both sides need to take into account the needs of the opposite side. It is the inability to reach a compromise that leads to what may be called a tragedy in Antigone Now.

And here we enter the territory of the time-historical-cultural-social-moral-ethical differences between our world and the world as it was perceived in ancient Greece. It is unimaginable today that anyone in authority (even in dictatorial regimes) would forbid the burial of a corpse, regardless of whose corpse it was. Any modern Antigone based on this premise would simply retell the original tale about right versus might or freedom versus tyranny. In a contemporary democratic society those in power claim their mandate by the will of the people and are aware that the mandate can be taken away. Those opposing the will of the rulers have recourse to independent judiciary that may curtail the power of those who would abuse it. In such a setup, a clash of wills that would re-enact Antigone's story in a way relevant and believable in the context of contemporary reality must spring from different sources. To an extent, the story must be turned on its head.

And so, instead of claiming the right for her brother to be given a burial, Antigone claims the right for him to remain in his grave. Cemeteries have been moved more than once in the last hundred years and for various reasons; it isn't difficult to imagine that a local ruler (elected mayor of a small seaside town) would want to move one to make way for a major development, especially in an area where jobs are scarce and people rely on his promise to improve the economy.

I wanted to make my protagonist and antagonist more than just two individuals unable to work out a compromise. I wanted to show them as representatives of two divergent views of what is right and proper in our society: on one hand Clara's belief that we must retain at least a vestige of the sacred; that not everything must be cleared away or discarded to make room for development (houses, villages, people, forests); on the other hand, her uncle's conviction that progress cannot be stopped without the risk of mass unemployment, poverty and social disorder. Clara is guided by spiritual, ecological, protective inclinations (with an admixture of new age ideals which are an essential part of the mindset of those who oppose rampant capitalism; for her there must be barriers which financial interest should not be allowed to cross, otherwise we shall all be slaves. Her uncle, on the other hand, while sympathizing with her ideals, firmly believes that the well-being of the people who voted him into power is more important than a heap of bones (or the place where they are stored) and wants to keep his electoral promises not only for reasons of profit but to retain his integrity.

The irony is that he destroys his integrity precisely by trying to safeguard it at any cost. As he sinks deeper and deeper (avoiding the press, even hiring paid killers to remove anyone who would sabotage his plans – although not Antigone, whom he loves, in spite of everything) it becomes more and more difficult for him to backtrack. To be honest, he is the victim of a dilemma he cannot resolve without ending up a loser: if he abandons the project he will lose his position, his power, his good name, his material comforts and most certainly the respect of the people for whom he has promised to create jobs. If he sticks to the project he has to remove the obstacles, including Antigone, but by doing so he risks breaking the law and ending up in disgrace, as well as losing everything. Caught as he is, his only choice is to employ persuasion, cajoling, veiled threats, trickery, empty promises and the help of shady characters who are so stupid they misunderstand his instructions and "remove" people by killing them. By committing Antigone to a mental hospital (the equivalent of the tomb in the Greek Antigone) he hopes to find enough breathing space to complete the project and then, when she can no longer thwart his plans, have her released in the hope that she will accept the facts and forgive him and perhaps come to love him again.

But his harmatia (recognition that he has a flaw and that he may not be doing the right thing) comes too late – in fact, only when the world around him crumbles and he loses his project and his niece at the same time. He tries to save his dignity (and his soul) by turning himself over to the police, especially when he realizes that his way of trying to solve the problem has left behind a number of corpses. There is no doubt in my mind that the mayor in Antigone Now is a tragic figure, a victim of his conviction that he can resolve a major conflict by resorting to subterfuge (that is his hubris), the only thing left to the powerful in a democracy in which power is not absolute but given to people seeking it only as a temporary loan. It can be said in his favor that by giving precedence to the wider interests of the community (to the order of the polis, as can be said of Creon), thus overruling individual judgment based on conscience, he is at least partly right and that most responsible, socially aware politicians would do the same. It can also be said that he is at least partly wrong, because there are interests yet wider than those of a small seaside community, chief among them the basic human values (respect for the dead, for the wishes and beliefs of individuals that make up the society, for the idea that not every piece of land, and that includes rainforests, is there to be used and abused for profit). But he is at least willing to discuss the matter and find a compromise that would be acceptable to both sides, the individual and the polis, and that is his saving grace.

But what of Antigone? Is she right in opposing her uncle and giving precedence to her personal convictions and feelings rather than to the interests of the community? Some would say she is and some would say she isn't. To many people today insisting that the remains of dead people, even of relatives, should remain forever in their original grave will appear as juvenile and stubborn lunacy. (In the same way the ancient Greeks might regard Creon's decision to deny Antigone's brother a decent burial as an expression of self-will and nothing more.) At least some people would say that Antigone is both right and wrong, because there are situations in life when we have no other choice but to act the way we believe we should. If the first Antigone's flaw was her unshakeable self-certainty (admirable in people opposing a tyranny based on might-is-right), my Antigone wavers occasionally and questions her stand, even seeking advice. There are moments in the play when we believe that she may indeed change her mind and realize what is at stake. She is prepared to share insights in order to gain a larger view of truth, but only with her old Professor. He carefully leaves the final decision to her. Her blind belief that her uncle loves her and will not harm her, and her inability to see the problem as his and not only hers prevent her from engaging in a search for a possible compromise (although her uncle offers her one: a tomb for her brother's remains). As soon as she realizes that her uncle will stop at nothing to override her wishes, she knows she is doomed, but instead of giving in to his demands she gives in to fate, realizing that she is in fact fighting for much more than the grave of her brother. This is the turning point that makes a tragic outcome inevitable.

Of course, this is not all that unusual. People are still willing to die for their beliefs, and they do, in many parts of the world. What may be somewhat unusual is the fact that a young woman, even though admittedly mentally unstable, is prepared to do that in a world that is so close to us, the world of pop and sitcoms and fast cars and sea cruises and every other banality. Our world is a world of small things (made even smaller by the relentless chatter of the media); tragedies are usually hidden away in the newsflashes about murders, accidents, earthquakes and other disasters. Our world is one of banality and criminality; something we have taken for granted. I wanted to point out this criminality with the way I fashioned Antigone Now; as a brutal crime story, a thriller with coldblooded murders on stage, no matter how shocked the audiences may be. I had no desire to write a poetical drama or to disguise the true nature of today's world. It is not a noble world, it is full of lies, and even grand projects (such as trying to bring prosperity to people) are tinged with dirt. Perhaps my Antigone's stand can remind us that the human spirit is still alive and that fighting for what we believe in (even things that may not seem very important and may appear as no more than fixed ideas) is one of the few means left to us to regain our soul and to stop our descent toward final disaster and oblivion.

                                             —Evald Flisar


Praise for Antigone Now

Antigone Now
, Teater Koma, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2011

Flisar’s play Antigone Now poses a number of questions for which there are no unambiguous, universally applicable answers. Antigone is not only the eponymous heroine of a tragedy by Sophocles but has become a concept, a symbol in which the signifier and the signified are combined, and thus, in a special way that still needs to be described and explained, preserves the myth, i.e. the original source, the “sacred primordial seat” to use the words of Nietzsche – even though it was also he who concluded that myth had disappeared together with the (Attic) tragedy which, after only a century in which it reached its apogee, died as suddenly as if it had committed suicide.

What kind of a world is that of Antigone in 2011, i.e. now, today, here? The world of Flisar’s play? Everything we have hitherto written about myth, tragedy, the consecration of the dead, the struggle of two ethical principles, the conflict between authority (the state) and the individual, even when he or she is related to the ruler, about the relationship between gods and people – all of that is absent today, in the first year of the second decade of the 21st century. So what is it like, this godless world of neoliberal capitalism, banal and globalized, which from one day to the next undermines its own foundations so that the day of its implosion is not far off? Or will there be another revolution, no longer limited to the state, region, economic or monetary union? A revolution that will engulf the Earth like a global fire, destroying all the institutions now administrating the world and its inhabitants, so that we become mere slaves enjoying varying degrees of happiness.

And then we shall – or if not us, our children or grandchildren – become aware that all previous revolutions were only exercises in consistency and cruelty, in the construction of the Idea in the name of which the world must be changed. Not changed into paradise on earth, the best of all possible worlds, but a world made to man’s measure, acknowledging material goods as a mere necessity and not striving for their accumulation; which will acknowledge that progress in the last few centuries, let us say from the Enlightenment onward – that incidentally established foundations for the new world that were sufficiently solid and well thought-out – constantly worked against itself. That will acknowledge that happiness consists not in having ever more; that desires only bring unrest and a constant need for ever new satisfactions and fulfillments, for constant pleasure and gluttony. Insatiability is transforming today’s man into an animal, even though by saying this I am offending animals, because they are never insatiable and greedy. In spite of ideas that the magnificent structure of human civilization will have to be newly erected, even though those who demand a new division of wealth (both natural and that hidden in stock exchanges and bank safes) are becoming ever louder, the world, both East and West, is striving to preserve and defend the state of affairs that prevails on all the continents.

 With regard to the immense riches and unimaginable poverty, people in the West act as if the past – and even more the future – have nothing to do with us. Here and now is all that matters; tomorrow will be what it will be. Better to have than to be. And no ancient (Eastern) wisdom that has spread via millions of books lying in book stores or the Internet, can (any longer) convince us to reflect on ourselves, look inside and seek that grain, that single bright grain that makes us human. We did not follow the philosopher who announced the re-evaluation of all values; no, we followed our not-reflected-upon impulse and devalued all values. Art and philosophy try to return to man his dignity and confidence, but are overtaken by technology, which convinces him to play with the toys that are at any moment able to conjure up the illusion of a beautiful and happy world. Myths and legends are replaced by ephemeral concepts and faces from showbusiness, as well as politicians, either elected or self-appointed, leaders or kings, who are competing with anorexic girls for space on the front pages of the world media. And then there is, of course, the Church. An anachronistic institution that can refer only to its tradition of two thousand years, to the Rock on which it was founded, while remaining as dark a force as possible that – willingly or not – has to compete with both politics and consumerism. In this “conflict of civilizations” symbols announcing the only true god are raised up high, and fundamentalists of all creeds threaten the godless world that flies flags bearing the symbols of capital.

The world of today’s Antigone is a world that simply does not know Antigone, takes no notice of her, does not understand her, either what she says or what she does, and even less her ethical standards. Evald Flisar is well aware of all this. He knows that today’s Antigone is not and cannot be even a long lost sister of Sophocles’s Antigone. Why? Because today the conflict no longer lies in the dispute between the belief in traditional values (among which, as we have said, the right to bury the dead is one of the fundamental rights, irrespective of the fact on which side the dead have fallen) and the right based on power or ruling. Or to put it differently: the point is no longer in the conflict between personal affairs and social values, or a conflict between private and public interest, whereby we see public interest as the common good. We are dealing with a conflict between two extreme individualities, which remain extreme even when the common good, the welfare state, is at stake, as we are day after day persuaded by our political leaders, who are in fact merely the leaders of political parties. Extreme individualism and egoism, the desire for power, authority and to rule pretend to be struggling for the common good, for the “good of the nation”. Such a Cankar-like “blockade”, which constantly leads to blandness and ignorance can, according to Flisar, be overcome only with the help of compromise, by taking others into account. And it is this very striving for a “common language”, of how to contain the deranged, deaf and blind individuality or egoism that makes Antigone possible here and now.

Today, Flisar goes on, it is difficult to imagine that anyone, even a dictatorship, would prohibit the burial of a dead, killed, murdered human being, irrespective of on which side he or she died. Flisar is here referring to the “democratic societies”, which curtail the power of their rulers in every possible way. This is why Flisar sees the only option for a present day Antigone in her fight for her dead brother to remain buried, because the authorities wish to move the cemetery for very prosaic reasons: an investor wishes to build a hotel and golf course, which today is almost a sine qua non of modern tourism. The only space for the golf course is the cemetery. Which is not something the author has come up with, but something we have witnessed in reality. How many cemeteries have been dug up so that unconsecrated buildings could be erected in their place – even theaters. This is why the conflict in Flisar’s Antigone Now takes place between her stubborn and consequently irrational insistence on not allowing the transfer of her brother’s remains and the ruler’s, i.e. mayor’s, endeavours to please investors, build a hotel and a golf course, thus creating a certain number of jobs.

Antigone Now, Theater im Keller, Graz, Austria, 2010

But even Flisar’s Antigone Now cannot do without the arrangement of characters around the landscape of the play, just as they were first arranged in Sophocles’s Antigone. When Flisar calls his Antigone Klara, he gives her a special, exposed status because her name means pure, clear. Klara’s purity and clarity mean that she is disruptive to her environment, to “common sense”, that she is “twisted”.  This is why she is a kind of tourist attraction – the play begins with the arrival of tourists at the cemetery in order to see this “local specialty”. To the common sense view, such ethical insistence on the consecration of the dead/buried is not “normal”.

Klara is what she is, which is why she can be a present-day Antigone since she has not yet been smothered by the clouds of egoism, profit and indifference to others; all these are the characteristics of capital, which is supposed to serve those same people. Flisar wants to show the two options in today’s society: insistence on one’s conviction (which, because it is connected with her dead brother, draws attention to a primordial pattern), and the authorities’ striving for development, i.e. the prosperity of the town and the people in it. Klara resists the realization of the idea of development and a better life for the inhabitants of the town. She refuses to accept the fact that the will of the majority is stronger and more legitimate than her private, irrational (“twisted”) desire to protect the consecration of her dead brother. But is it really about consecration? Is it now possible to talk about consecration at all? Is it not really just the construct of a (sick) mind standing against everyone – well, mainly against the (democratically) elected authority, which actually means her uncle, the mayor, who is acting on behalf of the community that elected him?

Flisar justifies Klara’s actions by saying she is acting in congruence with her spiritual, ecological and protective convictions, typical of all those who in the name of these principles fight feral (neoliberal) capitalism. Klara is firmly convinced that somewhere there has to be a limit, a sticking point as far as financial interest is concerned. If these limits disappear, we will “all be slaves” – perhaps happy, but still enslaved. As a skillful and talented playwright Flisar weaves around the central theme a dense network of story lines and their resolutions around Klara’s dead brother Andrej (Polyneices). Antigone Now begins with a group of tourists who have come to see a local attraction: a girl guarding the grave of her brother. But she will not be an “attraction” for much longer as, due to the construction of a hotel and a golf course, Antigone’s/Klara’s brother will have to be relocated. The fact that someone (Klara) thinks that the “ground in which we lay the dead to rest is consecrated” seems “funny” to tourists (and everyone else). “The girl really must be terribly stubborn,” is one comment. In spite of moving away from the “archaic” Antigone, the author has to preserve her archaic foundations, as only the family connections between all the protagonists allow the events to be tragic. Klara’s sister is Simona (Ismene); the twin brothers are Andrej and Uroš, who die in a traffic accident, one of the most banal types of death in our time; the mayor’s (Creon’s) adopted son is Filip (Haemon), who is once again lusting after Klara (they were lovers when young); the mysterious blind professor Guido transpires to be Oedipus, Klara’s father (!); the investigative journalist Bojan (Klara’s friend from childhood) is researching the corruption in the town led by the mayor; and finally there are Killers 1 and 2, who are not just hitmen, but above all cynics with no morals whatsoever, whose grotesqueness prevents the play from sliding into melodrama. “Fuck the country in which even a criminal can’t have a decent life!” is how they describe the present state of affairs.

Flisar, if I interpret his writing correctly, still believes that even today there are people who are ready to die for their “ideals”, even though the community sees them as eccentrics or “local attractions”. Because our world, says the author, is a world of small things. The real tragedies are hidden; the media is not in the service of the public, but is concerned with the fabrication of affairs. This is why Flisar decided to change Antigone Now into a thriller, which simply has to involve two cold-blooded killers. And even though it was not his intention to write a poetic drama, as Dominik Smole did half a century ago, he has written a tragic play. Because Antigone/Klara, who (and what else could they do with such a “stubborn girl”?) is put somewhere “safe”, into a psychiatric clinic, jumps out of the open window and “flies like a bird that has escaped from its cage, toward the sea beneath her. Pause. She did not reach it, but smashed her head against the sharp rocks,” says the blind Guido, her father, Oedipus. 

The “cage” was the belief for which Klara was ready to become a victim and turn her uncle the mayor into an executioner. But because the mayor is standing on the designated spot where Creon stood, he also has to experience a failure which, in line with the times, is as banal as possible: the investor decides to take his money elsewhere. The unfinished hotel will remain “a grey concrete skeleton, sticking up into the sky, reminding us that we don’t deserve anything better than what we already have”, says the disillusioned mayor. Klara’s sacrifice, which consecrated all her endeavours to prevent her brother’s grave being desecrated, even in the service of the “public interest”, finally touches the ruler/mayor as he decides to turn the unfinished hotel into a holiday home for the disabled. He gives up his power and, partly because Bojan the journalist recorded everything that happened for television, which means that there is indisputable proof about all the sleazy deals surrounding the building of the hotel and the golf course, decides to report to the police and confess his guilt, including in relation to Klara’s death. And in relation to those done away with by the Killers.

Flisar’s play reveals something else: that today (only today?) no protagonist or character in a play can be pure or clear. They are all weighed down by deeds that rob them of their integrity and make them problematic. The most interesting and also dramatic is the relationship between the dead brothers Andrej and Uroš. Not only are they identical twins, which of course makes it hard to distinguish between them: it is Andrej who is lodged deep in Klara’s heart, not Uroš, whom she “could barely stand”. Although it is a legitimate “right” of a sister to love one brother more than the other, it transpires that it is not quite clear which of the brothers was driving when the accident happened or which is buried in the grave Klara is defending because one of them – Klara is convinced it is Uroš – was cremated. This makes Klara begin to doubt and really undermines her right to do what she is doing, even though it is true that the grave is sacred/consecrated even if it is Uroš lying in it. In the light of this doubt, Klara’s behavior becomes problematic and it increasingly seems that it is merely the result of her extreme individualism and egoism.

Even Klara’s love for Andrej, on which all her conduct is based, is not “pure” and “clear”, i.e. innocent, sisterly. There are reasonable grounds for suspicion that the love between Klara and Andrej was more than that between a brother and a sister: photographs hint that their love was an incestuous one. This allows the Killers to blackmail Klara, threatening to give the pictures to the media. This fact may throw a different light on Klara’s conduct: that it is an unnatural love that common sense can in no way accept and tolerate. Klara’s statement that “the ground becomes sacred when those we love are laid in it”, is nullified in the light of the incestuous love between her and Andrej. Moreover, the relationship between the sisters Klara and Simona is also problematic (just like that between Antigone and Ismene!). Sabina is (only) beautiful, while Klara is clever. The relationship between cleverness and beauty is known: beauty fades, intellect persists. Filip is also involved in the relationship between the sisters, as he has an affair with both. Klara wants love – not only for her dead brother but also for the living Filip, who is a playboy and womanizer.        

Layer after layer is slowly peeled off before our eyes and the true faces of the protagonists in Antigone Now are revealed. No one is “without sin”, no one can be pure and clear; even though the blind professor acts as the supreme (moral) authority, he is still Oedipus, who at the moment he killed his father set off the infernal mechanism of hamartia or fatal flaw, which is the foundation not only of Attic tragedy, but also of all our (Western, white) civilization. Our kind began with patricide; the son had to take the place of the father, thus becoming the (potential) husband of the father’s wife, his mother. Incest is not a “flaw”, an “illness”, but one of those relationships that were taboo at the very start. But Western history tells us that taboos are taboos only because they are constantly being violated.

The blind professor Guido reveals to Klara the true nature of the present time, a time of “practical compromises”. A belief in something that brings no benefit is “pointless”. However, it is because of this character of our time, which compels us to make compromises and search for benefits wherever possible, that man must persist and through his persistence prove that all things are not “for sale”. Due to this realization both Klara and Guido must die, as well as Antigone and Oedipus. Simona claims that after Andrej’s demise, her sister fell in love with death, which made life a burden for her. Perhaps that is the source of Klara’s stubbornness, or as the mayor says: her “pride is too strong.” In love with death, Klara cannot recognize “the interest” of the community, which lies in capital, politics, jobs, development.

 Near the end of the play – when Bojan the journalist has to dig his own grave, since he will be murdered by the Killers – it transpires that the grave in which Andrej is supposed to lie is empty. Flisar’s play finally becomes elusive, slippery in all its multiple meanings, in the mixture of appearance and truth, whereby we are dealing with literary reality and not a journalistic report on the happenings in a town by the sea. The world of Flisar’s play is one of appearances and (stage) illusions; in this world people, according to the mayor, do not “deserve anything better than what they already have”. The world of the unhappy Klara, of perhaps the only possible Antigone in 2011, is a “cesspit” and not the “clear sea”, our time “promises so much and gives so little”, as the mayor says when it is all over – the end of the economy and of ethics.

In Antigone Now, Evald Flisar presents a very dark and pessimistic picture of the present. Perhaps, like Cankar, he is portraying darkness so that our eyes will demand more light. This is perhaps why the uninitiated may think that Flisar has written a morality play, although he dressed it as a popular transitional tale of economic crime and hired killers; but it is an indisputable fact that Flisar’s Antigone Now is telling us that our world long ago discarded the last of the “unwritten laws” which say that a man’s heart is the only judge able to pronounce final judgements. Thus Antigone Now is in a special way a return to the beginning: as if historical, linear time has turned back a fraction, so that the snake’s jaws have reached its tail and we are witnessing an unusual phenomenon of cyclicality, the cyclical nature of time, the time of myth – myth which is always seeking to express itself in art and literature.
                                            —Ivo Svetina

Evald Flisar (1945, Slovenia). Novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, editor. Studied comparative literature in Ljubljana, English literature in London, psychology in Australia. Globe-trotter (travelled in more than 80 countries), underground train driver in Sydney, Australia, editor of (among other things) an encyclopaedia of science and invention in London, author of short stories and radio plays for the BBC, president of the Slovene Writers’ Association (1995 – 2002), since 1998 editor of the oldest Slovenian literary journal Sodobnost (Contemporary Review). Author of eleven novels (six short-listed for kresnik, the Slovenian “Booker”), two collections of short stories, three travelogues (regarded as the best of Slovenian travel writing), two books for children and teenagers (shortlisted for Best Children’s Book Award) and thirteen stage plays (six nominated for Best Play of the Year Award, twice won the award). Winner of the Prešeren Foundation Prize, the highest state award for prose and drama. Various works, especially short stories and plays, translated into 32 languages, among them Bengali, Hindi, Malay, Nepali, Indonesian, Turkish, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Polish, Czech, Albanian, Lithuanian, Icelandic, Russian, Italian, Spanish etc. Stage plays regularly performed all over the world, most recently in Austria, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Belarus. Attended more than 50 literary readings and festivals on all continents. Lived abroad for 20 years (three years in Australia, 17 years in London). Since 1990, resident in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Texture Press
1108 Westbrooke Terrace, Norman, OK 73072