Borislav Pekić

Borislav Pekić (1930–1992) was born in Montenegro and educated in Belgrade, where he was arrested in 1948 for his founding role in the Association of Democratic Youth of Yugoslavia and sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor. Though he contracted tuberculosis during the five years of the term he eventually served, he was able during this period to draft extensive outlines for future writings, including the family tree of the protagonist of Houses. After studying psychology at the University of Belgrade, Pekić worked as a screenwriter, collaborating on more than twenty scripts, among them The Fourteenth Day, which represented Yugoslavia at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival. His first novel, The Time of Miracles, was published in 1965. In 1970, Houses won the prestigious NIN Award for best Serbian novel, and Pekić managed to obtain a passport and emigrate to London. Living as an expatriate he continued to write novels and advocate for democratic reform. In all, Pekić would write more than thirty works of fiction and nonfiction and saw some two dozen of his plays produced for the stage. Among his notable works are Kako upokojiti Vampira translated into English as How to Quiet a Vampire, 1977) and the seven volume saga of the Negovan family, Zlatno Runo (The Golden Fleece, 1978–1986). Following the collapse of Communism, he returned periodically to Serbia, finally helping to form the new Serbian Democratic Party in 1990 and clashing with security forces at an anti-Milošević rally in 1991. The next year he died of lung cancer in London.