Mesa Selimovic (1910-1982) is considered one of the most important figures in Yugoslav literature. He was born on April 26, 1910, in Tuzla, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Selimovic grew up in poverty, and his family was often on the move, settling in various parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Selimovic completed his education in Sarajevo, where he studied philosophy and literature. After completing his studies, he worked as a teacher in various cities, including Sarajevo, Tuzla, and Zenica.
Selimovic’s literary career began in the 1940s, when he started writing short stories and essays. His first novel, Death and the Dervish, was published in 1966 and is considered his masterpiece. The novel tells the story of an Islamic cleric who struggles with his faith and the corrupt society in which he lives. It has been translated into many languages and is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of Yugoslav literature.
Selimovic’s other notable works include “The Fortress,” a novel about a Bosnian governor’s struggle to defend his city from Ottoman invaders, and “The Seljuk Secret,” a collection of short stories set in medieval Islamic times. His works are known for their complex characters, philosophical themes, and lyrical language.
Selimovic was also a respected literary critic, and his essays and reviews were published in various newspapers and magazines. He was a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and was awarded numerous literary prizes, including the NIN Award for Best Novel and the Yugoslav State Prize for Literature.
Selimovic died on July 11, 1982, in Belgrade, Serbia. His legacy lives on in his literary works, which continue to be celebrated for their depth, beauty, and philosophical insight.