Nicol Ljubić [ Germany ]
Nicol Ljubic was born in 1971 in Zagreb. He grew up in Greece, Sweden and Russia, studied Political Science in Germany and attended the Henri-Nannen School in Hamburg. Already in 1999, he received attention for his report »Menschliche Überreste, 110 Kilogramm« (tr: Human Remains, 110 kg), which won the Hansel-Mieth-Prize for dedicated journalism. In addition to his journalistic work for various newspapers in Germany, Ljubic has also worked for the radio and as a politician with the SPD (Social Democratic Party), which he joined in 2003. This resulted in »Genosse Nachwuchs« (2004, tr: Comrade Next Generation), a documentary book about political groundwork and the individual desire to make a change in society. Self-critical, empathetic, precise and rich with the experience of laborious work in local groups, Ljubic's book describes the quasi-covert daily life of political parties.
The issue of personal identity and its efficacy took Ljubic in a totally different direction in his 2002 début novel »Mathildas Himmel« (tr: Mathilda's Skies), which »shows in an astounding and sometimes disturbing way how a young woman tries to escape the grammar of small families« (taz). This haunting growing-up tale of Mathilda, whose skies broaden only after she faces the pain of her experiences, is notable for its precise syntax and an outstanding feel for moods and nuances. Ljubic's sparing use of metaphor allows for a concise account of his young heroine's coming of age. That Ljubic is interested in all the facets of his characters' personalities is made masterfully evident in his biographical »Heimatroman oder Wie mein Vater Deutscher wurde« (2006, tr: Heimat Novel; or, How My Father Became German), which describes Drago Ljubic's journey from being a car mechanic in Zagreb via France to working as an aircraft mechanic for Lufthansa in Germany. His return to places from his past is told in loving detail and the complex and multi-faceted depiction of his father as he goes through the processes of migration and integration also provides a blueprint for the son's story as a child of immigrants in the 1950s. His most recent book, »Meeresstille« (2010, tr: The Stillness of the Sea) has as its themes the massacres of the Yugoslav Wars, issues of individual guilt and the biographical processing of later generations. In his calm, thoughtful and, again, documentary-inspired style, Ljubic succeeds in painting a fascinating portrait of a conflict which doesn't end in the Balkans, but which continues traumatically in the hearts of children.
Nicol Ljubic has been awarded for his journalistic work, including German newspaper’s Theodor-Wolff-Prize. He lives in Berlin.