nationalityBosnia and Herzegovina
time periodNovember 2016 - November 2016
Senka Maric (a.k.a. Senka Maric Saric) is a Bosnian poet, short stories writer, essayist, translator, and editor. She was born in the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the town of Mostar, in the 1972. She studied drama pedagogy and comparative literature. She has lived most of her life in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from 1991 to 1997 she lived in United Kingdom.
She has published two books of poetry: From Here to Nowhere (Odavde do nigdje, 1997) and These Are Just Words (To su samo riječi, 2005). Her poems, short stories, essays, and translations are published in many literary magazines, both printed and electronic, and some of her works are included in various anthologies and collections. Her works are translated to several foreign languages.
She has received few awards for her writings: twice, in the year 2000 and again in 2013 she was awarded with Zija Dizdarevic award for short story, which is the most important short story award in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Also in 2013 she has received European award The knight of poetry, when her poem It is good (Dobro je) was pronounced the best in the literary competition in which seven European countries took part (Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Bosnia and Herzegovina). In the jury’s citation, among other things, was stated that: “Senka Marić Šarić’s poem is subtle, wise, and sublime. She succeeded to ‘grow to simplicity,’...“.
Currently she is working as editor in chief of online literary magazine Portal Strane (www.strane.ba) founded in 2014 by the Senka Maric, Almin Kaplan and Srdan Gavrilovic; independent writers whose main goal was to create a space in which authors from the whole region can present their work, as to promote literature as well as the communication between writers of ex-Yugoslavian republics. Their editorial politics are based on the idea that diversity of poetics of the contemporary authors is the very thing that should be nurtured, as such plurality and polyphony can only enrich us and lead us to embrace our differences and learn from one other, and also, since literature itself is kind of a living organism, constantly evolving, that growth can only happen through contact with its surroundings, never in isolation. Portal Strane publishes works of well-known and respected authors as well as of new literary voices who are just starting. It consists of five categories: Poetry, Prose, Essay/Review, Interview and Etc. Category Etc. focuses on other art forms such as fine arts, film, photography and music.
Senka Maric is a member of Writers’ Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina and P.E.N. Center of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The main focus of my writing, both in poetry and prose, is trying to find answers to questions such as what is it like to live in the world today; what does it mean to be a woman, or a human being, in the world we live in; what are the values of the modern world and how it is possible for anything to have any meaning when we are all witnesses to human life, with migrant crises, terrorism, never ending wars etc., being insignificant and erasable; how do we love, grieve, long, hurt, or experience any other basic human emotion in such a world. I hope that staying in Vienna for a month will provide me with the opportunity to explore how much are these questions present and important in society such as Austrian, as one of the representative states of stable Western world. I believe it will be very rewarding to me as a writer to experience the way of life in the society that is not, at all its levels, burdened with war that ended twenty years ago, as the one I come from, and that staying in Vienna for one month I will be able to get the general idea of similarities and differences in our ways of life. Also, I am convinced that it will be very interesting to explore, from my point of you, is there a such a thing as “normal life”, or at least what does it feel like to live a life that is not under the shado of the war, as well as what is it like to be a foreigner in Austria. I hope all these issues will prove very inspiring and I hope to include them in my writings.
Also, I am sure that having the opportunity to witness and learn about the magnificent art and culture Vienna has to offer my own work will be influenced in many ways I am yet not able to foresee.
My stay in Vienna was during November. This was my first visit to the city and I was immediately blown away by its beauty. Every step you take you’re surrounded by art. You can literally feel history passing by you, centuries unfolding in front of your eyes. At moments it is almost painful to take it all in. I have spent most of my time wondering the city streets, just letting it take me without thinking of direction, or how am I going to get back to the beautiful studio I was residing in. I have to say I haven’t done as much writing as I planned. But maybe I did something even more important. During my walks, in my head I was composing the novel I work on. Streets of Vienna, the fact I have freedom to go wherever I want to and stay for as long as I feel like, gave me the necessary quiet and alone time to contemplate my novel. I think that is especially important for female writers, as for us, who are most often mothers as well, time is the luxury we don’t often have. I also very much enjoyed Vienna museums. There are among the best ones I have ever visited. I have also met some very interesting people, and I’m grateful for it too. I have enjoyed Vienna in many ways, and it has definitely became one of my favorite cities I plan to visit very often.