Drakulić was born in Rijeka, Croatia, on July 4, 1949. She graduated in comparative literature and sociology from the University in Zagreb in 1976. From 1982 to 1992, she was a staff writer for the Start bi-weekly newspaper and news weekly Danas (both in Zagreb), writing mainly on feminist issues. In addition to her novels and collections of essays, Drakulić's work has appeared in The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Internazionale, The Nation, La Stampa, Dagens Nyheter, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Eurozine, Politiken and The Guardian. She is a contributing editor for The Nation. She lives in Croatia and in Sweden.
Drakulić temporarily left Croatia for Sweden in the early 1990s for political reasons. A notorious unsigned 1992 Globus article (Slaven Letica, a known sociologist, former advisor to President Franjo Tudjman and writer, subsequently admitted to being its author) accused five Croatian female writers, Drakulić included, of being "witches" and of "raping" Croatia. According to Letica, these writers failed to take a definitive stance against rape as a planned military tactic by Bosnian Serb forces against Croats, and rather treated it in feminist fashion, as crimes of "unidentified males" against women. Soon after the publication, Drakulić started to receive telephone threats; her property was also vandalized. Finding little or no support from her erstwhile friends and colleagues, she decided to leave Croatia.
Her noted works relate to the Yugoslav wars. As If I Am Not There is about crimes against women in the Bosnian War, while They Would Never Hurt a Fly is a book in which she also analyzed her experience overseeing the proceedings and the inmates of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague. Both books touch on the same issues that caused her wartime emigration from the home country. In scholarly circles, she is better known for her two collections of essays; "How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed" and 'Cafe Europa. These are both non-fiction accounts of Drakulić's life during and after communism.
Her 2008 novel, Frida's Bed, is based on a biography of a Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.
Her latest book of essays A Guided Tour Through the Museum of Communism: Fables from a Mouse, a Parrot, a Bear, a Cat, a Mole, a Pig, a Dog, & a Raven was published in February 2011 in the US by Penguin, and widely reviewed to great acclaim. The book consists of eight reflections told from the point of view of a different animal. Each beast reflects on the remembrance of communism in different countries in Eastern Europe. Although some reviewers interpreted the book as condemnation of communism and its lingering effects, the book also critiques the ravages of the economic system that replaced it. In the second to last chapter, a Romanian dog explains that under capitalism everyone is unequal “but some are more unequal than others,” an inversion of a famous George Orwell quote from Animal Farm.
- "Holograms Of Fear" Hutchinson, London (1992).
- "Marble Skin" Hutchinson, London (1993).
- "The Taste of a Man" Abacus, London (1997)
- "S -a novel about Balkans" (also known as: "As If I Am Not There") (1999). Made into a movie "As If I Am Not There", directed by Juanita Wilson.
- "Frida's Bed" Penguin USA, New York (2008),
- "Smrtni grijesi feminizma" (1984) only in Croatian
- "How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed", Hutchinson, London (1991).
- "Balkan Express: Fragments from the Other Side of the War", W.W. Norton, New York (1993).
- "Cafe Europa: Life After Communism" Abacus, London (1996)
- "They Would Never Hurt a Fly: War Criminals on Trial in the Hague" Abacus -Time Warner, London (2004)
- "Tijelo njenog tijela" (2006) available in Croatian, German and Polish
- "Two Underdogs and a Cat", Seagull Books . London, NY, Calcutta (2009)
- "A Guided Tour through the Museum of Communism. Fables from a Mouse, a Parrot, a Bear, a Cat, a Mole, a Pig, a Dog, and a Raven", Penguin, New York, (2011)
- We Are All Albanians 1999
- Bosnian Women Witness 2001
- Crime in the circles of power October 2008
- Slavenka Drakulic Interview 2009
- Articles on Eurozine
- Articles in The Nation
- Articles in The Guardian
- Rape as a Weapon of War 2008
- Slavenka Drakulic and Katha Pollitt in conversation 2011
- “Slavenka Drakulic”, Women in European History, Nora Augustine
- Drakulic author page, The Guardian
- "Masthead". Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- "Blood and lipstick", Melissa Benn, The Guardian, January 23, 1992 p. 19
- Novelist strives for total democracy in Yugoslavia Gail Schmoller, Chicago Tribune, December 15, 1991
- Slavenka Drakulic Biography at the DAAD Artist-in-Residence Program
- Animal farm: the tale of the mouse and the mole, The Economist, March 17, 2011
- A guided tour through the museum of communism, Drew Belsky, American Thinker, February 5, 2011.
- Animal nature, The New Republic, Timothy Snyder, March 3, 2011
- Across the Page: Bisexual Literature Archived 2009-02-08 at the Wayback Machine, Afterellen.com, Heather Aimee O..., November 23, 2008
- The official Slavenka Drakulic Site
- Slavenka Drakulic Interview 2009
- Slavenka Drakulic receives the Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding
- Extract from "Two Underdogs and a Cat"
- Slavenka Drakulic speaking at Festivaletteratura 2009 - Scintille: La leggenda del Muro di Berlino
- Public lecture by Slavenka Drakulić: “Intellectuals as Bad Guys? The Role of Intellectuals in the Balkan Wars' May 15–19, 2014, Kyiv Ukraine: Thinking Together