Aleksandar Tišma

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Aleksandar Tišma (16 January 1924 – 16 February 2003) was a Serbian novelist.

Tišma was born in Horgoš, Kanjiža, to a Serbian father and an Hungarian-speaking Jewish mother. He completed the basic and middle school in Novi Sad and studied economy and French language and literature in Budapest during World War II, to finally graduate on Germanistics from the University of Belgrade Faculty of Philology. From 1945–1949 he worked as a journalist for Slobodna Vojvodina and Borba, then as an editor and redactor in Matica Srpska up to retirement in 1982.

He was a corresponding member of the Vojvodina Academy of Sciences and Arts since 1979 and regular since 1984, and subsequently regular member of the Serbian Academy upon their fusion 1992. From 2002, he was also a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin.

Tišma was occupied with themes of human seeking for freedom, and suffering, violence, horror and guilt they encounter on the way. Along with Czesław Miłosz, Danilo Kiš and György Konrád, he was sometimes classified into the literature of "Mitteleuropa"—dark and contemplative, yet humanistic and thought-provoking.

On the political level, Tišma often supported and acted in favor of pro-democratic movements in Serbia. He was reluctant to openly join any political organization though. In 1993, as a sign of disagreement with Slobodan Milošević's regime and increasing nationalistic hysteria, he left the country and lived in self-exile in Paris until the ousting of Milošević in 2000. He died, aged 79, in Novi Sad.

His works were translated into 17 languages. Among other awards, he received the Novi Sad October Award, the NIN Award for the novel of the year (for The Use of Man, 1977), the Andrić Award and the Austrian State Award for European Literature. He also translated from German and Hungarian, notably Imre Kertesz's novel Fatelessness.



  • Naseljeni svet (Inhabited World)
  • Krčma (Pub)

Collections of short stories[edit]

  • Krivice (Guilts)
  • Nasilje (Violence)
  • Mrtvi ugao (The Dead Angle)
  • Povratak miru (Return to the Peace)
  • Škola bezbožništva (School of Atheism)
  • Hiljadu i druga noć (A Thousand and Second Night)


  • Za crnom devojkom (After a Black-haired Girl)
  • Knjiga o Blamu (The Book of Blam)
  • Upotreba čoveka (The Use of Man)
  • Begunci (Fugitives)
  • Kapo (Kapo)
  • Vere i zavere (Faith and Treason)
  • Široka vrata (The Wide Door)
  • Koje volimo (Those We Love)


  • Drugde (Elsewhere), travels
  • Šta sam govorio (What I Spoke), interviews
  • Dnevnik (Diary), interviews