Muzzle for Witches


by Dubravka Ugresic

September 17, 2024
essay | pb | 128 pgs.
5" x 8"

Winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature

As with the rest of her literary career, Dubravka Ugresic's final work, A Muzzle for Witches, is uncategorizable. On its surface, the book is a conversation with the literary critic Merima Omeragić, covering topics such as "Women and the Male Perspective," "The Culture of (Self)Harm," and "The Melancholy of Vanishing." 

But the book is more than a simple interview: It's a roadmap of the literary world, exploring the past century and all of its violence and turmoil—especially in Yugoslavia, Ugresic's birth country—and providing a direction for the future of feminist writing. 

One of the greatest thinkers of the past hundred years, Ugresic was one-of-a-kind, who novels and literary essays pushed the bounds of form and content, and A Muzzle for Witches offers the chance to see her at her most raw, and most playful. 

Translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursać

About the Author:

Dubravka Ugresic is the author of six works of fiction, including The Museum of Unconditional Surrender, and six essay collections, including the NBCC award finalist, Karaoke Culture. In 2016, she was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature for her body of work. She went into exile from Croatia after being labeled a "witch" for her anti-nationalistic stance during the Yugoslav war. She lived in the Netherlands until her passing in March 2023.

About the Translator:

Ellen Elias-Bursać has been translating novels and non-fiction by Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian writers for thirty years, including writing by David Albahari, Neda Miranda Blazević Kreitzman, Ivana Bodrozic, Svetlana Broz, Slavenka Drakulic, Dasa Drndić, Kristian Novak, Djurdja Otrzan, Robert Perisic, Igor Stiks, Vedrana Rudan, Slobodan Selenić, Antun Soljan, Dubravka Ugresic, Karim Zaimović.

Praise for Dubravka Ugresic

"Splendidly ambitious. . . . A brilliant, enthralling spread of storytelling and high-velocity reflections. . . . She is a writer to follow. A writer to be cherished."—Susan Sontag

"A madcap wit and a lively sense of the absurd. . . . Filled with ingenious invention and surreal incident."—Marina Warner

"Dubravka Ugresic is the philosopher of evil and exile, and the storyteller of many shattered lives the wars in the former Yugoslavia produced. . . . This is an utterly original, beautiful, and supremely intelligent novel."—Charles Simic

"Ugresic is also affecting and eloquent, in part because within her quirky, aggressively sweet plot she achieves moments of profundity and evokes the stoicism innate in such moments."—Mary Gaitskill

"Never has a writer been more aware of how one narrative depends on another."—Joanna Walsh