Best Serbian Writers: 10 Authors That We Recommend

Stacks of colorful books

It’s no secret that Serbian literature is rich, with plenty of reads to add to your bucket list. If you’re curious but don’t know where to begin, you probably want to know about the best Serbian writers.

While each of these authors has a unique style, all of them are absolutely worth your time. So, here’s our pick of the best Serbian writers. Let’s begin!

Meša Selimović

One of the best Serbian writers, Meša Selimović, explored life’s big questions. Notably, he depicted human struggles and emotions in simple yet profound ways in his works.

His most famous novel, Derviš i smrt (Death and the Dervish), deals with themes of justice, faith, and the quest for personal freedom through a story of a dervish facing life’s toughest challenges.

Ivo Andrić

A black and white photo of a man with eyeglasses.
Nobel laureate Ivo Andrić

Ivo Andrić was a Yugoslav novelist and short story writer. Likely the most famous writer from the region, he won the Nobel Prize in 1961. Typically, his works deal with life in Bosnia under the Ottoman Empire.

His iconic novel, Na Drini ćuprija (The Bridge on the Drina), features an unlikely main character — a bridge that has seen it all: war, peace, and the drama of everyday life. In other words, it’s a peek into Balkans history, with a bridge telling us stories about human relationships and resilience.

Isidora Sekulić

Isidora Sekulić was one of the greatest Serbian authors of the 20th century. Notably, she brought a fresh perspective to Serbian literature. Namely, her works focus on human thoughts and introspection — a novelty at her time.

Besides, Isidora was a polyglot and a globetrotter. She wrote her famous travelogue, Pisma iz Norveške (Letters from Norway), while she was enjoying the woods and fjords of Norway.

Milorad Pavić

Milorad Pavić stood out for his imaginative writing. Namely, he played with words and ideas, creating books that you can read in different ways. As a result, Pavić’s writing is like a treasure hunt, full of surprises and hidden meanings.

For instance, his most famous work, Hazardski rečnik (Dictionary of the Khazars), is a puzzle-like novel that explores the mysteries of the ancient Khazar people through a magical blend of history and fiction. Thanks to a non-linear plot, you can start reading this work from any page.

Borislav Pekić

A man with eyeglasses sitting on the ground, smoking a cigarette.
A novelist and dissident, Borislav Pekić

Borislav Pekić was one of the best Serbian writers of the 20th century. Also, he was a political activist fighting for democracy. Consequently, he served five years in prison. As for his works, he crafted stories that challenge the mind and stir the imagination, all with a touch of dark humor.

One of his most famous novels, Zlatno runo (The Golden Fleece), combines myth and history into an exploration of power, betrayal, and the quest for truth in a world where nothing is what it seems. To be fair, it’s a challenging read that consists of seven thick volumes.

For a more easy-to-understand piece of fiction, we recommend his Besnilo (Rabies). Namely, it’s an exciting and chilling story of people trapped in quarantine during a rabies outbreak at Heathrow Airport.

Danilo Kiš

Danilo Kiš was a Serbian poet and short story writer. Sadly, he faced great personal tragedies, including the death of his father during World War II. As a result, his writing centers on themes of loss, memory, and the search for identity.

His short story collection, Enciklopedija mrtvih (The Encyclopedia of the Dead), features unique and imaginative tales. For example, one story follows a woman who finds her late father’s name in a mystical encyclopedia. This eventually leads her on a journey through his hidden past.

Momo Kapor

Momo Kapor was a painter and author with a knack for storytelling. Above all, he loved to talk about everyday life in Belgrade and its people. Because of that, reading his works feels like taking a stroll down memory lane, full of charm and nostalgia.

For instance, his Vodič kroz srpski mentalitet (A Guide to the Serbian Mentality) is a witty account of Serbian culture. In it, Kapor captures the quirks of fellow Serbs with plenty of humor and warmth.

Radoje Domanović

In general, Radoje Domanović wrote short stories that, through satire, criticized political and social issues of his time.

For example, his story Vođa (The Leader) is about a group of villagers who follow their teacher in search of a better land. However, they don’t know that their leader is, in fact, blind and leads them into a disaster. In short, this story criticizes foolish political leaders and their unwise decisions.

Desanka Maksimović

Desanka Maksimović was a famous Serbian poet. Most of the time, she wrote about human emotions and experiences. In general, her works deal with themes like love, nature, and the resilience of the human spirit.

One of her saddest poems, Krvava Bajka (A Bloody Fairytale), mourns the tragic execution of schoolchildren in Kragujevac during World War II.

Svetislav Basara

A modern-day novelist and column writer, Svetislav Basara is famous for his bold and quirky writing style. He mixes dream-like elements with satire and surprises readers with funny twists. In other words, his works manage to blend the weird with the wise.

Some of his best novels are Fama o biciklistima (The Cyclist Conspiracy) and Kinesko pismo (Chinese Letter).

Where to Buy Serbian Books?

Pick up some gems at street book stands 📕

If you’re staying in Serbia and want to enrich your personal library with some gems written by Serbian writers, we’ve got a few suggestions.

First, if you want to read in English, bookstores like Vulkan and Delfi have a decent selection of translated Serbian works. You can either shop online or visit physical stores, which you can find in almost every city in the country.

But if you prefer to read in Serbian, you’ve got plenty more options. In addition to bookstores, you can buy books from street vendors. If you’re lucky, you’ll find some rare books at a bargain.

Also, you can browse KupujemProdajem. On this website, you’ll find plenty of new and used books at great prices.

Best Serbian Writers: Pick Your Favorites

At last, you’ve got a good idea of the best Serbian writers and their finest works. Now, it’s time to pick those that suit your taste and enjoy the magical world of Serbian literature.

While reading translated works is great, you might enjoy them even more if you can read in Serbian. Plus, you’ll have more choices since not all books are available in English. So, if you wish to improve your Serbian reading skills, book our online lessons and meet your language goals in a relaxed and supportive setting. Happy reading!

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