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Vitomil Zupan

Vitomil Zupan (1914–1987) was one of the most extraordinary and charismatic Slovenian artists of the 20th century. A writer, poet, playwright, screenwriter and essayist, he left an undeniable mark on literature while also making notable contributions in the fields of film, TV and radio. His restless spirit took him to places all over the world and into all sorts of jobs and activities: he was a sailor, a boxer and a skiing instructor, as well as a culture editor and painter. He was a prisoner at two concentration camps and joined the partisan movement after the capitulation of Italy. After the war, he was sentenced at a show trial to 18 years of prison and forbidden to write, however, his sentence was commuted after seven years. He began writing again, initially under a pseudonym, and remained an independent writer until his death. Within his extensive and diverse oeuvre, novels with autobiographic aspects stand out: Minuet for Guitar (Menuet za kitaro), Leviathan (Levitan), Playing with the Devil’s Tail (Igra s hudičevim repom) and A Comedy of Human Tissue (Komedija človeškega tkiva, 1980). Zupan received several awards for his writing, among them two Prešeren Awards – the first in 1947, the year when Prešeren Awards were instituted, and the second in 1984, for his lifetime achievement.

  • “Vitomil Zupan was a synonym for gesamtkunstwerk. He was an anonymous man who turned the Slovene language into platinum; a left-wing falcon who would seek a podium for pouring out his wild nature; a gladiator who wanted to rehabilitate the nation. He was ahead of his time, a time that in one way or another never actually existed. If he had not existed, he would have been beyond our imagination. His literary texts could only be read out loud. They were like a tune you hear in the morning and you cannot get out of your head all day long. ” Marcel Štefančič, film critic, TV host, writer


  • Župančič Award 1982

Books by Vitomil Zupan