Novak Boris A.

Corresponding members VI. Department of Literature
Novak Boris A.

Date of birth:

  • 1953

Place of birth:

  • Beograd


Novak Boris A.

Corresponding members VI. Department of Literature

Membership in the Academy:

  • corresponding member – Department of Literature (11/6/2020 – …)

Curriculum Vitae

Boris A. Novak, Slovenian poet, playwright, translator, essayist, literary theorist and children’s writer, was born in Belgrade in 1953. He studied comparative literature at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Ljubljana. He worked as a playwright, and after receiving his Doctorate with the thesis Reception of Romanesque poetic forms in Slovenian poetry, he was employed as a teacher at the Department of Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, where he still operates today. As a visiting professor and invited author, he resided in many countries.

He was one of the founders of the polemical Nova revija and its editor-in-chief. He developed a special activity within the PEN Club, in 1991-96 he presided over the Slovenian section, and in 1994-2001 he led the Peace Committee of international PEN, and in this capacity organized humanitarian assistance for vulnerable writers from the region, and especially for intellectuals in occupied Sarajevo. He was elected vice-president of pen’s world organisation in 2002.

He published poetic collections for adults: Stihožitje (1977), Hči spomina (1981), 1001 stih (1983), Kronanje (1984), Stihija (1991), Mojster nespečnosti (1995), Alba (1999), Odmev (2000), Žarenje (2003), Obredi slovesa (2005), Dlaneno platno (2006), MOM: Mala Osebna Mitologija (2007), Satje (2010) and Definicije (2013).

His songbooks of poetic forms are pedagogically effective and gladly read: Oblike sveta (1991), Oblike srca (1997), Oblike duha (2016) and Lunin koledar (2020). He also published several poetry collections for children and youth, wrote several puppet plays and radio games and several dramatic texts. His poems, plays and dramatic lyrics were translated into numerous languages, and he himself translated an anthology of Provencal troubadours (Ljubezen iz daljave, 2003) and numerous works from French (S. Mallarmé, P. Valéry, P. Verlaine, E. Jabès), English (S. Heaney), Dutch (Paul van Ostaijen, Monika van Paemel) and South Slavic (J. Osti, T. Maroević) and other languages.

His magnum opus is epos Vrata nepovrata (44,000 verses in 2,300 pages) in three books: Zemljevidi domotožja (2014), Čas očetov (2015) and Bivališča duš (2017).  This monumental work is in many ways unique in modern Slovenian literature and masterfully shaped in collusion with the greatest epic poets of world literature.

He received numerous awards for his achievements. In 2000, the Writers’ Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina awarded him the International Bosnian Tombstone Award for Poetic Oeuvre. He is a two-time knight of the French Republic (Knight of the Order of Academic Palms, 2008, and Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature, 2011), a correspondent member of the French Poetry Academy Mallarmé, an associate member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He is the current Vice-President of International PEN. In 2018, he received the Prešern Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was elected as a corresponding member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts 2020.