Danilo Kiš

Danilo Kiš

Danilo Kiš was a Yugoslav novelist, essayist, poet, and translator whose work generated storms of controversy in his homeland but today holds classic status. His works are prized by an international readership drawn to Kis’s innovative brilliance as a storyteller and to his profound meditation on history, culture, and the human condition at the end of the twentieth century. Kiš was born in Subotica, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) in 1935. He was the son of Eduard Kiš, a Hungarian Jewish railway inspector. During the Second World War, Danilo’s father along with several other family members, were killed in various Nazi camps. His mother took him and his older sister Danica to Hungary for the duration of the war. After the end of the war, the family moved to Cetinje (today in Montenegro), where Kiš graduated from high school in 1954. Kiš studied literature at the University of Belgrade, and graduated in 1958 as the first student to be awarded a degree in comparative literature. He was a prominent member of the Vidici (views) magazine, where he worked until 1960. In 1962 he published his first two novels, The Attic and Psalam 44. For his 1973 novel Hourglass, Kiš received the prestigious NIN Award, but returned it a few years later due to a political dispute. During the following years, he received an array of national and international awards for his prose and poetry. One of his most famous works is the story collection The Encyclopedia of the Dead, his last book to be published in his lifetime in 1983, that was translated into numerus languages. Kiš lived in Belgrade until the last decade of his life, when he lived in Paris as well as Belgrade. He was marries twice and died of lung cancer in Paris in 1989.

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