Sanja Lovrenčić was born in 1961 in Knin (Croatia). Since her earliest childhood she has lived in Zagreb, where she finished elementary school, classical grammar school and music high school. She studied art history and indology at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb, and graduated art history at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade (1985). She began writing poetry and translating it from French and English during her studies; her first poems were published in the magazine Quorum, and she self-published her first collection of poems Insula dulcamara in 1987. In the late eighties she submitted her work for the first time to a public competition for a radio drama. After 1990 – having won first prize for both a radio drama and a radio play for children – she closely collaborated for several years with the Drama Programme of Croatian Radio as an author and translator. In 1994 she published two books in two different fields which are equally in the focus of her interest: the collection of poems Scarlet Fabric (edited by Hrvoje Pejaković) and the book of stories for children Esperel, the City of Small Wonders. By 2007 she published four more collections of stories for children (she won the Grigor Vitez Award for The Four Terrible Foof-Eaters) and two short novels, and after that she wrote only texts for picture books. She considers poetry to be the basis of her literary work and her most important field of activity, and she has never stopped writing it.
Her first collection of stories for adult readers, Wien Fantastic, came out in 1998 in the Quorum Collection of the MD Publishing House, which printed several more of her books in prose, mostly of an experimental nature. She published her first longer novel The Skating Rink in 2005. As a member of the Association of artists Autorska kuća (2004-2009), she also became the publisher of some of her own texts. In 2006, she therefore published her biographical novel In Search of Ivana, for which she received the Gjalski Award, and a collection of poems The River Surely Loves the Flood (Cyclops Award). In 2009, the Leykam Publishing House put out her novel Martin’s Strings in Croatian and German, which won the Steiermaerkische Sparkasse Literary Award and was shortlisted for the T-Portal Award.
With her younger son Adrian Pelc, she founded the Mala zvona Publishing House in 2010, in which the majority of her literary and literary translation activities have taken place ever since. However, she continues to collaborate with other publishers and, for example, she published the novel Ardura (2012) in Fraktura. Ardura was shortlisted for two literary awards, and Lovrenčić’s most notable books include the novel Cabinet for Sentimental Trivial Literature (2018) and a collection of poems Sketches for a Heroine (2021). For the manuscript I am Writing to you from a Distant Land she received the Tea Benčić Rimay Award in 2021 for an unpublished collection of prose poems.
Creative writing fellowships:
H.A.L.D. , International Residency for Writers at Hald, Denmark (2014).
Art Omi, USA (2015, 2021)
Villa Marguerite Yourcenar, France (2016)
Château de Lavigny, Switzerland (2017)
Q21 Museumsquartier, Vienna, Austria (2017)
In addition to writing, she does a lot of translation work. Her translated books fall into several groups: social sciences, literature for adults, literature for children, music history; she won the Cyclops Award (2012) for her translation of Virginia Woolf’s collection of short fiction The Haunted House
In 2005, she launched an event to encourage reading Pick a Story! which is since being held continually in several Croatian cities.
Since 2014, she has also been creating ceramic artwork, and has shown her work in several juried group exhibitions. Together with artist Iva Valentić, she founded the Pictogram Art Organisation in 2020, with the aim of creating handmade art books. They jointly exhibited several such cycles, entitled Pictobooks.