30 September 1985
|Notable work(s)||The Tiger's Wife|
Téa Obreht (born Tea Bajraktarević on 30 September 1985) is an American novelist of Bosniak and Slovene ethnicity who was born in Belgrade, the capital of the then-still-existing Yugoslavia. Her debut novel, The Tiger's Wife (2011), won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction.
Biography and work
Téa Obreht was born as Tea Bajraktarević in the autumn of 1985, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Her father, a Bosniak, was absent in her childhood so she lived in Belgrade with her mother and her maternal grandparents, grandfather Stefan, a Slovene, and grandmother Zahida, also a Bosniak. When the Yugoslav Wars started in the early 1990s, Obreht and her family moved to Cyprus and later to Cairo, Egypt, guided by her grandfather's job as an aviation engineer. Her grandparents returned to live in Belgrade in 1997, while she and her mother settled in the United States, first in Atlanta, and later in Palo Alto, California. Obreht's grandfather died in 2006 and on his deathbed asked her to write under his surname, Obreht. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Obreht received a MFA in fiction from the creative writing program at Cornell University in 2009. She currently lives in Ithaca, New York. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Zoetrope: All-Story, Harpers, The New York Times and The Guardian, and in story anthologies.
Among many influences, Obreht has mentioned in press interviews the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, the Yugoslav Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andrić, Raymond Chandler, Ernest Hemingway, Isak Dinesen, Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov, and the children's writer Roald Dahl.
The Tiger's Wife
The Tiger's Wife is set in an unnamed Balkan country, in the present and half a century ago, and features a young doctor's relationship with her grandfather and the stories he tells her. These concern a "deathless man" who meets him several times in different places and never grows old, and a deaf-mute girl from his childhood village who befriends a tiger that escaped from a zoo. It was largely written while she was at Cornell, and excerpted in The New Yorker in June 2009. Asked to summarize it by a university journalist, Obreht replied, "It’s a family saga that takes place in a fictionalized province of the Balkans. It’s about a female narrator and her relationship to her grandfather, who’s a doctor. It’s a saga about doctors and their relationships to death throughout all these wars in the Balkans."
- Lo Dico, Joy (9 June 2011). "Orange winner's novel could heal the wounds of war-torn Serbia". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- Schillinger, Liesl (11 March 2011). "A Mythic Novel of the Balkan Wars". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 March 2011.; Retrieved 29 March 2011 Cornell Daily Sun interview, 25 March 2009.
- "Orange winner's novel could heal the wounds of war-torn Serbia". Standard. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- The Daily Beast interview, 9 March 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
- McGrath, Charles (14 March 2011). "'The Tiger's Wife' Brings Téa Obreht Acclaim". New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- Minzesheimer, Bob (10 March 2011). "New Voices: Tea Obreht, The Tiger's Wife". USA Today. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- Interview in The New Yorker, June 14, 2010; Biography on author's website Both retrieved 28 March 2011.
- The Atlantic interview, June 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
- Retrieved 28 March 2011.
- Entertainment Weekly interview, 4 March 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
- Cornell Daily Sun.
- Orange Prize website. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
- Téa Obreht official website
- Archive at The Atlantic
- Téa Obreht collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- 2011 radio interview (one hour) at The Bat Segundo Show
- Tea Obreht Reads From Her Novel, 'The Tiger's Wife', PBS NewsHour, 1 April 2011
- 2011 Orange Prize Winner, Orange Prize for Fiction, 8 June 2011
- Téa Obreht reading excerpts from The Tiger's Wife