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192 JOVANOVIĆ, Biljana (1953–1996) Serbian writer, feminist and peace activist Biljana Jovanović was born in Belgrade on 28 January 1953. Her father, Batrić Jovanović, was a politician and her mother, Olga Jovanović, a journalist. She had a brother named Pavle Jovanović and a sister named Ana Jovanović. The family lived in Belgrade, where Biljana Jovanović attended gymnasium, changing schools several times and graduating in 1972. In that year, she enrolled as a student at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade , where she graduated from the Department of Philosophy. Even as a student, Jovanović was already engaged in literary life. Her first book was a collection of poetry entitled Čuvar (Keeper, 1977) and her first book of fiction, a novel, followed almost immediately . Pada Avala (Avala is falling, 1978; second ed. 1981) gave Jovanović a name among the younger generation of writers and it was at this time that she decided in favor of a professional writing career. She published two more novels, Psi i ostali (The dogs and the others, 1980) and Duša, jedinica moja (My soul, my only child, 1984). In addition, she wrote extensively for the theater, including the plays “Ulrike Meinhof” (1976; staged as “Stemmheim” in Belgrade in 1982), “Leti u goru kao ptica” (Flies into the woods like a bird, staged in Belgrade in 1983), “Centralni zatvor” (The central prison, staged in Bitola in 1992) and “Soba na Bosforu” (A room in Bosphor, published in the journal ProFemina in 1994). Biljana Jovanović married twice: first when she was still a student, to a philosopher from Belgrade named Dragan Lakićević; later to the Slovenian sociologist Rastko Močnik. From her second marriage in the late 1980s until her premature death in 1996, she divided her time between Belgrade and Ljubljana. Her husband Rastko Močnik was actively involved with her in many peace initiatives of the 1990s. Biljana Jovanović was active on the public scene not only as a writer, but also as a critical intellectual. Throughout the 1980s, she took part in debates about intellectual freedom and freedom of speech. Particularly important was her involvement in the foundation and early work of the Odbor za zaštitu umetničkih sloboda (Committee for the Defense of Artistic Freedoms), which was established in 1982 within the frame- 193 work of the Udruženje književnika Srbije (Association of Serbian Writers). Jovanović was one of its founders and for a period of time, its President. Towards the end of the 1980s, the Udruženje književnika Srbije became increasingly nationalistic and Jovanovi ć distanced herself from its activities. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was obvious that various forms of nationalism had become dominating ideologies among the peoples of Yugoslavia, threatening to tear the country violently apart. Jovanović became actively involved in the civic movement and anti-nationalist actions, initiating a number of events and public protests herself. She organized a number of public actions against the war calling for peace and tolerance and was one of the founders of the Civilni pokret otpora (Civil Resistance Movement, founded in Belgrade on 29 February 1992). In November 1992, she was among the founders of the Leteća učionica radionica, LUR (Flying classroom workshop), an alternative theoretical and artistic project connecting Yugoslav spaces in an already partly dismembered country. Despite the war, various kinds of cultural activities took place in Ljubljana, Belgrade, Priština, Skopje and Titograd (today Podgorica), in which people from all over the country participated in various languages of the former Yugoslavia: Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian and Macedonian. Biljana Jovanović was also involved in a number of antiwar actions carried out in cooperation with women's and feminist groups, in particular with Žene u crnom (Women in Black) and the Ženski lobi (Women’s Lobby) from Belgrade. Accounts of some of these activities for the period June 1991 to November 1992 are chronicled in detail in a book of letters exchanged between four women writers: Biljana Jovanović, Rada Iveković, Maruša Krese and Radmila Lazić. The book was first published in German, under the title of Briefe von Frauen über Krieg und Nationalismus (Women’s letters on war and nationalism, 1993) and a year later in Belgrade. In the letters—written across old, newly established, national and international borders— the four women express feelings of unhappiness, disbelief and rage, as well as the need to take action against dangerous forces destroying the country and pushing people into war, hatred and death. Biljana Jovanovi...


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