Alumna Danijela Crljen publishes a novel „Strah od kupine"

We are proud to announce that our alumna, Danijela Crljen (Class of 2004) has written a novel „Strah od kupine" (Fear of a Blackberry) that has just been published by Naklada Fragment. As I am writing this article I can't decide what is more intriguing – the fact that the novel is being so praised even before it is published, or its title. I've spoken to Danijela who has shed some light on it.

Writing has always been my spiritual practice

Danijela has graduated from RIT in Dubrovnik back in 2004, then completed her Masters’ Degree in Economics and has had a stellar business career since. She works as a director of the ACI marina 'Veljko Barbieri' in Slano, and at the same time teaches part-time at the University of Economics in Dubrovnik. However, „the most important job and the only one I do 24/7 is being a mom to two bundles of joy, Paula (15) & Lovro (14) who could change your opinion on teenagers being impossible to handle," says Danijela.

One thing that has always been her passion is – writing. „I’ve been writing ever since I can remember," she adds. „It has always been my spiritual practice, even before I knew it was called that. Writing is much closer to thinking than talking and sometimes only when I put something on paper it makes perfect sense."

What is behind the title of the novel?

Handling all those activities and responsibilities does not come easy. But, Danijela has found a recipe how to be successful at multitasking. „My creative side never interfered with my job ‘cause I usually do it later in the day, often at night when the city (and children!) is quiet. Luckily I never needed much sleep, otherwise I would never finish it."

She finds inspiration in the people and world around her: „I like to observe people as individuals as well as look at the society as a whole so my stories are always exploring our deepest cuts, the ones we usually try to hide or maybe we’re not even aware of having them..."

The novel's title - „Strah od kupine", sounds a bit mysterious, in a way that you could not guess what it is about. She says that this was done on purpose: „The book is a novel about one family and it’s everyone’s story, at the same time. Through intertwined chapters that follow several generations of the main character’s family, Klara, the novel explores the complexity of different type of relationships and it examines the consequences of some old, often hasty and conditioned, choices whose echo we can feel generations after the decisions have been made. The meaning of the title is revealed and explained in the book so I‘m going to leave you to figure that one on your own."   

I’m always writing something… that’s what I do and I’ll keep doing it, regardless of whether I will ever get published or not

Writing brings back many fond college memories for Danijela. „I remember a couple of really cool essays and assignments at college, for example the ones we did for American Literature I and II classes, with professors Tane D. Cavich and Gladys Winkworth. I also kept my self-assessment journal we had to do for our Leadership class in senior year. I had fun writing it and reflecting on what we learned during those 10 weeks, but I kept it mostly because of prof. Winkworth’s comment at the end of the paper: "This journal is disgusting and depressing, almost as bad as when I realized my 5yr old daughter could outsmart me. I’m sure your parents had the same experience.” 

When it comes to tips and tricks of the trade, Danijela is careful about giving advice because she believes there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one person, might not work for another. If she is faced with a writer's block, she knows that trying to break it will not help: „The harder I try, the harder it is to write well. The best ideas, sentences, thoughts came to me when I least expected them, when I wasn’t trying to be witty or smart."

Irrespective of all challenges, writing remains her love and passion. She is not planning a new book but.. „I’m writing though, I’m always writing something… that’s what I do and I’ll keep doing it, regardless of whether I will ever get published or not."

„Strah od kupine" has been published by Naklada Fragment and you can find more information about it here:



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