Ali (Alija) Krasnići was born in 1952 in Crkvena Vodica, a town near Obilić (Kosovo). He never questioned his identity as Rom and his mother tongue (Gurbet-Romani); they were a natural and central part of his life. In this sense, Krasnići is a tradition-conscious Rom. However, he does not consider the traditional values of his forefathers nor Romani as something static which cannot be subject to change.
However, in the 1960s and 70s, Krasnići’s studies at the Faculty of Law in Obilić equaled a breach of a taboo. He quickly realized that people thought very little of the Roma and they knew even less about Romani culture; even then, what was “known” was a gross and incorrect stereotype. It was this experience which later led Krasnići to publish his books in multiple languages – usually Romani and Serbian, though sometimes also English.
In the years and decades that followed, Ali Krasnići became one of the best known Roma authors in former Yugoslavia. Until now, he has written and published more than 40 books, is represented in numerous anthologies, has written articles for the radio and radio plays. He was awarded several of the most important prizes for his literary work. He is one of the few authors who write prose in Rromanes. It is believed that Romani is a lesser language (smaller lexicon and lack of abstract terms), but Krasnići sought to challenge this idea by writing more than poetry or drama.
His main concern, which he deals with in a literary form, is depicting the life of the Roma in all its facets. He deals with suffering, privation, poverty and need, but also with the longings, the happiness, and the every-day pleasures of the Roma in his region.
- (1995) Rromani kalji paramići. Kragujevac
- (1998) Iripe ano Đuvdipe. Kragujevac.
- (2000a) Antologija e Điljenđi katar o Jasenovac. Kragujevac
- (2000b) Rromani mahlava. Kragujevac
- (2001) Lord, turn me into an ant! Gypsy fairy tales from Kosovo and Metohia, Beograd
- (2002) Đuvdimase bibahhtaljimate. Kraguevac
Jovan Nikolić (1955)
Jovan Nikolić was born in Belgrade on 7 December 1955 and grew up in a Romani settlement near Čačak in Serbia.
Since 1981 he has published numerous volumes of poetry in addition to plays and satirical texts in Serbo-Croatian. As a poet, playwright, columnist, comedian and song writer – among other things, for the film Black Cat, White Cat by Emir Kusturica – he has come to literary honors and remarkable popularity. In 1999, after the NATO bombing, he emigrated from Belgrade and has since lived in Germany. He was a scholar of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, of the Berlin Academy of the Arts, of the German PEN Writers in Exile Program (from April to December 2000), of the city of Graz, of the Schöppingen Arts Village Foundation and of KulturKontakt Austria. In 2000 his anti-war piece which he authored together with Ruzdija-Ruso Sejdovic Kosovo mon amour premiered at the Ruhr Festival. Since 2002 he has been Vice President of the International Romany Writers Association IRWA, he is also a member of the Serbian PEN. In 2004 a German translation of his poetry and prose book Zimmer mit Rad (Room with a Wheel) was published followed by Weißer Rabe, schwarzes Lamm (White Raven, Black Lamb) in 2006 and Käfig (Cage) in 2009 (prose), all with Klagenfurt publishers. White Raven, Black Lamb was voted to be “Book of the City” for the city of Cologne in 2011.
Books [unavailable at this time]:
- Gost niotkuda (A Guest from Nowhere, in Serbian and Roma language, 1982)
- Đurđevdan (St George’s Day, 1987)
- Neću da se rodim (I Don’t Want to Be Born, 1991)
- Oči pokojnog jagnjeta (The Eyes of the Late Lamb, 1993)
- Telo i okolina (Body and Environment, 1994)
- Mala noćna muzika (A Little Night Music, 1998)
- Soba s točkom (The Room with a Wheel, 2004, German edition, 2011 in Serbian).
- Bela vrana, crno jagnje (White Crow, Black Sheep) 2003
Rajko Đurić (Рајко Ђурић) (1947)
Born in Malo Orašje, Smederevo, Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia) is a Serbian Romani writer and academic. He is also politically active as the leader of one of Romani parties in Serbia – Roma Union of Serbia.
He studied philosophy at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy (1967–1972). In 1986 he obtained a Doctorate of Sociology writing the dissertation Culture of the Roma in S.F.R. Yugoslavia. In 1991 he moved to Berlin avoiding involvement in the Yugoslavian wars.
He wrote more than 500 articles and, until leaving Yugoslavia, was the chief redactor for the cultural section of the newspaper Politika in Belgrad. He was the President of the International Romani Union and is the General Secretary of the Romani Centre of International PEN. His literary works have been translated into more than five languages. In 2011, he co-founded a Romani academy of arts and sciences in Belgrade and has been its president since then.
- Bi kheresko-Bi limoresko, 1975 (available Amazon – French)
- Purano svato o dur themestar, 1980
- A i U – A thai U, 1982
- Kultur der Roma und interkulturelle Beziehungen, 1988–1990
- Paradigmen in der Kultur der Roma, 1992
- Die Kultur der Roma und Sinti, 1993
- Les Rroms dans les belles lettres européennes (available Amazon – French)
- Les rêves de Jésus-Christ – Le Temps du Gitan (available Amazon – French)
A copy of the poem “Bi Kheresko, Bi Limoresko” (Without a House, Without a Grave”) is available to read (in Romani) AND to hear at lyrikline.org!
Bajram Haliti (1955)
Romani scholar and author from Kosovo. His books have won many awards, including several prizes in the annual “Amico Rom” contest in Italy and his work was included in 1998’s “The Roads of Roma: A PEN Anthology of Gypsy Writers”. A polyglot who has lectured throughout Europe and the USA, he serves as the editor of the magazine Ahimsa, “Nonviolence”, devoted to Romani and Serbian issues. He is the author of the documentary movie “Auschwitz- never again” where he discusses the genocide on Serbs, Jews, and Roma and Sinti. At the fourth international “Amico Rom” which is organized every year in Lanciano, Italy, Bajram’s book “Roma, nation of wicked fate” received third prize, and his poem “Mirabai” from the collection ” Celestial Ring” won second prize in 2000. His first book is a collection of poems, “Debt to Truth” and “Celestial Ring” is his third book.
- Slovensko-romski slovar (Slovenian–Romani dictionary), with Petra Jurič, Gjoko Nikolovski, Hazemina Đonlić, Đurđa Strsoglavec, Samanta Baranja – Frekvenca, socialno-kulturno združenje nemirnih in aktivnih, 2012
- Srpsko-romski recnik : sa gramatikom i pravopisnim savetnikom (Serbian-Romani vocabulary: With grammar and spelling adviser, 2011) (Available at Amazon in Serbian)
- Contemplations on Roma Issue – Memorial Roma Centre for Holocaust Studies of Serbia and Montenegro, 2005
- Mumtaz Mahal (poetry), with Milica Jeftimijević Lilić – Memorial Roma Centre for Holocaust Studies of Serbia and Montenegro, 2004
- Razmišljanja o romskom pitanju, with Višnja Minčev, Gjuner Abdula, Biljana Ivančević, Imer Kajtazi, Jozef Herstens, 2006
- Dukhavni upral o hramo merimasko e kosmetese rromendje. Tugovanka nad hramom smrti kosmetskim romima. A Lament over the Temple of Death for Romanys of Kosovo. Beograd: Caligraph, 2006
- Роми, народ зле коби: Роми будућност, свих – Pergament, 1997
- Romski sa izgovorom – Nolit, 2008
- Небески прстен. Beograd: Stručna kniga, 2000
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