Bekim Sejranović: From nowhere to nowhere
Bekim Sejranovic's From Nowhere to Nowhere is a subtle yet unforgettable meditation on the factors that shape identity. Raised by his grandparents and scattered to the wind from his hometown of Brcko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, the novel's unnamed narrator travels to Croatia and Norway, trying to reclaim a sense of self he isn't sure he ever possessed in the first place. From his days playing soccer with friends on Brotherhood and Unity Street outside his home to Muslim funerals, his job as an interpreter for Balkan refugees, and his fractious relationships with women, a nomadic aesthetic emerges brilliantly rendering what it means to live a life from which you have always been removed.
"Funny, melancholy and riotously alive, From Nowhere to Nowhere is a raw mosaic of intoxicated states and landscapes, a nonconformist's dream book of brilliant and bruising hopes." James Hopkin, author of Winter Under Water
Bekim Sejranović (1972–2020) was a member of the writers’ associations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Norway. In 2009, he was awarded the Meša Selimovic Prize for the best new novel from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro for Nigdje, niotkuda (From Nowhere to Nowhere). In 2011, he was screenplay writer for Japanese director Moku Teraoka’s documentary From Tokyo to the Morava River - A Japanese Meets the Balkans. He lived in Ljubljana from 2011–14, and then lived and worked in Zagreb from 2015 until his untimely death in May 2020. His short story A Happy Ending appeared in McSweeney's; this is his first novel to appear in English.
The translator Will Firth was born in 1965 in Newcastle, Australia. He studied German and Slavic languages in Canberra, Zagreb, and Moscow. Since 1991 he has lived in Berlin, where he works as a translator of literature and the humanities—from Russian, Macedonian, and all variants of the “language with many names,” aka Serbo-Croatian. In 2005–07 he translated for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Firth is a member of professional associations in Germany (VdÜ) and Britain (Translators Association). His best-received translations of recent years have been Aleksandar Gatalica’s The Great War, Faruk Šehic’s Quiet Flows the Una, and Miloš Crnjanski’s A Novel of London.