Biljana Srbljanović

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Biljana Srbljanović

Biljana Srbljanović (Serbian pronunciation: [bǐʎana sr̩bʎǎːnoʋitɕ], Serbian Cyrillic: Биљана Србљановић, born 15 October 1970 in Stockholm, Sweden, now claiming Belgrade, Serbia[1]) is a Serbian playwright and politician.

She has written seven plays for the theater and one TV screenplay for Otvorena vrata TV series that ran on Radio Television of Serbia during the mid-1990s. Her plays have been staged in some 50 countries. Srbljanović is also a part-time lecturer at the Faculty of the Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. On 1 December 1999 she became the first foreign writer to receive the Ernst Toller prize. She is the recipient of various theatre awards, including the Slobodan Selenić Award, the Osvajanje Slobode Award, the Belgrade City Award, The Statuette of Joakim Vujić and the Sterija Award.

Writing career[edit]

Srbljanović obtained her dramaturgy degree in 1995 at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. The first play she wrote, Beogradska trilogija (The Belgrade Trilogy), was first performed in 1997 in Belgrade, Serbia at the Yugoslav Drama Theater. After its huge success, the play was produced in many other countries, including Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, England, and the Scandinavian countries.

In April 1998 her second play, Porodične priče (Family Stories), was written in Belgrade and staged at Atelje 212. It won the Best New Play Award at the theatre festival in Novi Sad, Serbia and was later staged in Germany, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, United States, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France and elsewhere.

In December 1999, Srbljanović completed The Fall, which premiered in July 2000 at the City Theater Festival in Budva, Montenegro. Due to lack of public interest, the play was quickly erased from the program of Belgrade's theaters.

The premiere of Supermarket, her fourth play, took place in May 2001 at the Festival of Vienna, Austria. It is still staged in many European countries.

In late 2003, Srbljanović completed her fifth play, America, Part Two. This became Serbia's most popular play in 2003 and 2004.

Srbljanović's next play, Skakavci (Locusts), won the New Theatrical Realities Award, one of Europe's most prominent theatre awards. In the 2005-06 season, German theater magazine Theater Heute proclaimed Srbljanović the best foreign playwright of the season.[2]

Her latest play is Barbelo.

Political career[edit]

In 2007 Srbljanović joined the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), with an additional role as a member of the party's political council.[3] Srbljanović was LDP's candidate for mayor of Belgrade in the Serbian local elections, 2008. She has distanced herself from the party afterwards.

Views and opinions[edit]

Srbljanović has for decades been an outspoken figure in the Serbian public sphere.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, during her university days, Srbljanović was close friends with Isidora Bjelica and wrote for the right-wing Pogledi magazine.[4] Afterwards, Srbljanović's political views swung to the left and by mid 1990s she began fiercely opposing the policies of Slobodan Milošević as well as opposition elements on the right side of the political spectrum. In 1997, as one of the guests on Olja Bećković's Utisak nedelje talk programme on Studio B, Srbljanović squared off against Miloslav Samardžić (who used to be her editor-in-chief at Pogledi) over the issue of American magnate George Soros injecting funds into the pro-Western Serbian media outlets, primarily B92.[5]

Even after the 5th October 2000 Overthrow in Serbia, she continued railing against what she viewed to be "the irresponsibility of the political elite in Serbia", "Serbian violent nationalism" and "the culture of violence and exclusion in Serbian daily life".[citation needed] From May 2006 until February 2009, she maintained her own blog on the B92.net site[6] where among other things she frequently criticized various individuals, mostly Serbian politicians and other public figures who displayed political opinions she opposes such as Nebojša Krstić, adviser to the Serbian president Boris Tadić.

In 2010 Srbljanović opened a Twitter account where she continued commenting on Serbian politics. During late summer 2011, she got into several heated exchanges with the Democratic Party (DS) spokeswoman Jelena Trivan.[7][8]

Controversy[edit]

In March 2001, Srbljanović was sued for libel by film director Emir Kusturica as a result of calling him "an immoral Milošević's profiteer" in her op-ed piece in the Vreme magazine.[9] She also claimed in the same piece that Kusturica's 1995 film Underground was mostly financed by the Serbian state-owned TV (RTS), which was financially and editorially controlled by Milošević's regime at the time, accusing the director of "directly collaborating with the regime via his friend Milorad Vučelić".[10] In December 2003, the Belgrade municipal court ruled in Kusturica's favour as her claims couldn't stand up to closer scrutiny after Kusturica's attorney Branislav Tapušković provided a complete documentation of Underground producers and financiers thus proving that funding mostly came from the European production companies while parts of the movie were only shot in Serbian studios.[11]

In July 2007 Srbljanović criticized basketball player Milan Gurović on her blog, referring to him as "that tattooed idiot", for having a tattoo of World War II Chetnik leader Draža Mihailović on his arm.[12]

Additionally, Srbljanović aroused controversy with her 18 February 2012 tweet referring to the news item that former Serbian interior minister Dragan Jočić is to get extra police security following the arrest of Luka Bojović. Srbljanović's tweet — "'Jočić getting extra security detail' why? he ain't gonna run" — mocked the fact Jočić is unable to walk since his 2008 car accident.[13]

Srbljanović set off a torrent of negative sentiment from the general public in Serbia after making an awkward joke during the catastrophic May 2014 floods on Twitter. The tweet in Serbian read "Excuse me for not being compassionate, but you have 10 more minutes to swim to the gallery for the promotion of my book "Tomato". A flurry of tweets, Facebook posts and news updates were quick to condemn the post, and her Twitter account @leyakeller became unavailable not long after [14]

Troubles with law[edit]

Srbljanović got detained on 1 December 2011 while buying cocaine from the 27-year-old street dealer Miloš "Šone" Stanojčić and subsequently cited for possession of illegal substances.[15] According to Serbian police, she bought drugs on two occasions, each time paying 60.[16][17] Srbljanović ended up avoiding prison by taking a plea deal from the prosecutor's office in late March 2012 — agreeing to donate RSD200,000 to charity as well as to testify against the drug dealer who sold her the drugs.[18]

Personal[edit]

In 2006 Srbljanović married Gabriel Keller, former French ambassador in Serbia.

Srbljanović is related to Radovan Karadžić, wartime political leader of Bosnian Serbs, currently on trial accused of complicity in war crimes by the international tribunal at The Hague.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biljana Srbljanović, Aleksandar Popović, Aleksandar Vučić, Dragan Đilas, Žarko Obradović (2008-04-20). Utisak nedelje (Television production). Belgrade, Serbia: B92. Archived from the original on 4 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  2. ^ B92 - News - Society - Serbian playwright wins prestigious award
  3. ^ B92 - Vesti - Lečić napustio predsedništvo LDP-a - Internet, Radio i TV stanica; najnovije vesti iz Srbije
  4. ^ Stojićević, Slobodan (26 March 2008). "СТАРА ЉУБАВ ЗАБОРАВА НЕМА". Politika. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Samardžić, Miloslav (2008). "Nikola je bio najbolji!". Svedok. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  6. ^ http://blog.b92.net/blog/105/Biljana%20Srbljanovi%C4%87/ Biljana's blog.b92.net
  7. ^ Okršaj Srbljanović-Trivan na Tviteru;Blic, 23 August 2011
  8. ^ Svađa Biljane Srbljanović i Jelene Trivan na Tviteru;Blic, 20 September 2011
  9. ^ Kusturica encore montré du doigt;allocine.fr, 27 September 2001
  10. ^ Umesto pomirenja - tužba;Glas javnosti, 14 September 2001
  11. ^ Srbljanović kriva za klevetu;Večernje novosti, 28 December 2003
  12. ^ Biljana Srbljanovic blog, 21 July 2007
  13. ^ Biljana Srbljanović se sprda s invalidima!;Kurir, 25 February 2012
  14. ^ Kurir Daily, 19 May 2014
  15. ^ "Biljana Srbljanović se izvukla za kokain!". Frankfurtske vesti. 23 March 2012. 
  16. ^ ""Od Srbljanovićkinog kokaina sam mogao da napravim špansku seriju"". Frankfurtske vesti. 3 November 2012. 
  17. ^ "French envoy's wife accused of possession of cocaine". News.Az. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  18. ^ Dileru Biljane Srbljanović 3,5 godine zatvora, Večernje novosti (Serbian)
  19. ^ Krv prenosi samo viruse; Slobodna Dalmacija, 8 March 2006 [1]; Glas javnosti, 10 March 2006