Jurica Pavičić is a Croatian novelist, screenwriter, short story writer and journalist. Author of nine novels and two short story collections, he gained literary reputation with his unorthodox thrillers and crime novels which mix social analysis with deep insights into morally complex situations and human destinies. His novels won several Croatian literary awards. A crime novel Red Water (published in Croatian in 2017) won Le Points award and Grand prix de la litterature policiere for the best European crime novel in 2021. His fiction books are translated in French, German, Italian, Macedonian, Slovakian, Slovenian and Latvian, and published in Serbia.
Pavičić is also reknown as a journalist. He works as a film critic, and he published several volumes of books on film criticism. In Croatia, he is famous for his weekly column Vijesti iz Liliputa (News From Lilliput). From 2000. on, he publishes that column every Saturday in his home newspaper, Jutarnji list from Zagreb. Pavičić won many awards for his journalist work.
Jurica Pavičić was born 1965. in Split, where he still lives. He described his family as a „typical Socialist middle-class family, product of Socialist modernization“. His father was chemical engineer working in plastic factories around Split. His mother was a vocational high-school teacher. Father's family originated from the rural heratland of island Hvar (Vrbanj). Mother's family is originally from the poor, baroque suburb of Split, Veli Varoš. Pavičić describes his father as non-party atheist leftist, and his mother as a practical catholic.
Jurica Pavičić finished elementary and high school in Split. He studied comparative literature and history at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Zagreb. As a student, he started writing film criticism in a student magazine Kinoteka. From 1989., he is regular literary, and later film critic of the daily newspaper from Split, Slobodna Dalmacija. In 2000. he moved from Slobodna Dalmacija to a newspaper where he currently publishes: Jutarnji list, but remained living in Split.
His newspaper essays on Croatian politics, society and culture are collected in several books: Vijesti iz Liliputa (News from Liliput, V.B.Z., 2001), Split by Night (Ex libris, 2004), and New News from Liliput (EPH, 2011.). He also published a collection of essays Knjiga o jugu (Book About South, Profil, 2018) in which he collected newspapers articles and essays on Mediterranean and Dalmatia. Second, expanded edition of that book was released in Serbia in 2022.
In 1997., he published his first novel, Ovce od gipsa (Plaster Sheep), social thriller which unites several plotlines united by the same time and space: Split during the Yugoslav war, in year 1992. Dealing with unpleasent motives of war crimes committed by Croats, novel attracted enormous attention in Croatia and stirred a political scandal. It's usually considered as a shift in a new Croatian literature, novel which marked a beginning of a new wave of stvarnosna proza (reality narrative) - more realist, narrative-driven and politically charged writing which dominated Croatian literature from the late 90s. Ovce od gipsa were translated in German by Nummer 8 Verlag from Wetzlar under the title Nachtbus Nach Triest (The Night Bus for Trieste, 2001). The Swiss weekly magazine Facts put it on a third position in a Top 10 list of the best crime/suspense novels of the year. The film Witnesses based on this novel (directed by Vinko Brešan) was screened in competition of Berlin Film Festival in 2004., and won several international awards. Pavičić is also a co-screenwriter of the film.
Pavičić's second novel, Nedjeljni prijatelj (The Sunday Friend, Znanje, Zagreb) was published in 2000. It's a detective novel which deals with links between post-communist wild capitalism and corrupted politics. 2001's Pavičić's first stage play, Trovačica (Poisoner) was staged in Croatian National Theatre in Split. The play – murder story dedicated to Patricia Highsmith - won the national award for best theatre text Marin Držić.
In 2002. Pavičić published his third novel, Minuta 88 (Minute 88), VBZ, Zagreb). It's a social family drama strongly connected with football subculture. Minuta 88 was nominated among five best fiction books in Croatia for the Jutarnji list award. Pavičić's fourth fiction book, Kuća njene majke (Her Mother's House) was published in 2005. It's a family melodrama dealing with the position of the Catholic church within Croatian society. In 2006., he published his fifth novel: Crvenkapica (Little Red Riding Hood, VBZ 2006). Inspired by fable by brothers Grimm and set in contemporary Croatia, novel tells a story about a conservative girl from a fishing community who pays visit to her old aunt, communist and university professor from Zagreb. Through crime story, Pavičić discusses relation to modernization in two generations of Croatian women. The novel was translated in Italian and published by Salento Books (2014).
From the late 2000s, Pavičić completly shifts toward short fiction. He publishes two volumes of short stories- Patrola na cesti (Highway Patrol, VBZ 2008) and Brod u dvorištu (Boat in the Courtyard, VBZ 2013). First collection – whose title was inspired by the Bruce Springsteen's eponimous song - was published in Italian by Salento Books in 2012, and in German by Schruf & Stipetic in 2014.. Selection of Pavičić's stories in published in France by Agullo Editions (2023). Geographically focused on writer's native coastal region of Dalmatia, these stories deal with family destinies in a postcommunist transition, clash between modernity and tradition somewhere between war in the 90s and economic changes caused by expanding tourism. The story Highway Patrol from the collection of the same name was adapted as a TV series in five episodes, directed by Zvonimir Jurić and produced by Kinorama. TV series was aired on Croatia Television in February 2016. with critical praises. It won several international awards.
In 2015., Pavičić published a novel Žena s drugog kata (Woman From the Second Floor, Profil, Zagreb, 2015.). Set in writer's hometown Split, a novel tells a story of a young woman who poisoned his mother-in law. Through that story, writer explores the mechanisms of the Mediterranean patriarchal family.
In 2017., he published a novel Crvena voda (Red Water), crime novel with a timespan through 30 years of Dalmatian history, from 1989. to the 21. century. That novel won two major Croatian national awards for fiction: Gjalski award of the Croatian Writer's Society, and Fric award for the best Croatian novel. Red Water is translated to German, French, Italian, Slovakian and Macedonian. After the release of the French edition, a novel won Prix Les Points, Transfuge award, Michel Witta- 813 award, Prix Mystere de la critique and Grand prix de la litterature policiere award for the best foreign crime novel published in France.
In 2020. he published a novel Prometejev sin (Son of Promethaeus) which follows the futher history of the main character of Red Water, inspector Gorki Šain. It's a social novel which explores the mechanism of capitalist expropriation of land in a Mediterranean coast. It also explores the deep divide of conflicting memories on past within Croatian society.
In 2022. he published a crime novel Mater Dolorosa. A novel evolves around rape and murder case in Split. It follows a policeman investigating the case, and family which suspects that their brother and son could be a culprit. Book is nominated for two prestigous Croatian fiction awards: T-Portal award and award Gjalski.
Citing Palestinian film director Elia Souleiman, Pavičić says that his stories usually deal with „unfinished houses and unfinished businesses“. Critics often compare Pavičić's short stories with Alice Munro and Raymond Carver. Prominent Serbian novelist Dragan Velikić described Pavičić as „Ivo Andrić of Dalmatia“.
In many occasions, Pavičić declared Patricia Highsmith, Ruthe Rendell, Graham Greene, William Trevor, Leonardo Sciascia, Heinrich Bӧll and Gillian Flynn as writers who inspired him.
Ovce od gipsa, (Plaster Sheeps, novel), A.B. Gigantic, Solin-Split 1998.
Nedjeljni prijatelj, (A Sunday Friend, novel), Znanje, Zagreb, 2000.
Hrvatski fantastičari – jedna književna generacija, (Croatian „Fantastics“- A Literary Generation), Zavod za znanost o književnosti FF u Zagrebu, Zagreb 2000.
Vijesti iz Liliputa, (New from Liliput- essays and columns) VBZ Zagreb, 2001.
Nachtbus nach Triest, Kriminalroman, Verlaghaus No.8, Wetzlar 2001., translated in German by Brigitte Kleidt
Minuta 88, (Minute 88, novel) VBZ., Zagreb, 2002.
Split by Night, essays and columns, Split 2003.
Kuća njene majke, (Her Mother's House, novel), Jutarnji list, Zagreb 2005
Crvenkapica (Little Red Riding Hood, novel), VBZ,. Zagreb 2006.
Patrola na cesti, (Highway Patrol, short stories collection), VBZ. 2008.
Postjugoslavenski film – stil i ideologija, (Post-Yugoslav Cinema: Film and Ideology), Hrvatski filmski savez, 2011.
Nove vijesti iz Liliputa (New News From Liliput, essays and columns), EPH Liber 2011.
Il collezionista di serpenti, short stories, Salento Books, Lecce 2012., translated in Italian by Estera Miočić
Brod u dvorištu, (Boat in a Courtyard, short story collection), V.B.Z., Zagreb 2013.
Il Capuccetto Rosso, novel, Salento Books, 2013., translated in Italian by Estera Miočić
Tabernakel (Tabernakl), collected short stories, Schruf & Stipetic GbR, Berlin 2014, translated in German by Susanne Böhm and Blanka Stipetić
Žena s drugog kata (Woman From the Second Floor) novel, Zagreb: Profil 2015.
Helden (Junaci), , collected short stories, Schruf & Stipetic GbR, Berlin 2015, translated in German by Susanne Böhm and Blanka Stipetić
Ein Tod fur Ein Leben, novel, Schruf & Stipetic, 2017, translated in German by Blanka Stipetić
Klasici hrvatskog filma jugoslavenskog razdoblja (Classics of Croatian Cinema from Yugoslav Period) , Hrvatski filmski savez, Zagreb, 2017.
Red Water (Crvena voda), novel, Profil Zagreb 2017.
A Book About South (Knjiga o jugu), essays, Profil Zagreb 2018.
Zeugen, a novel, translated to German by Brigitte Kleidt, Schruf & Stipetic, 2019.
Fremde Helden, short story collection, translated to German by Susanne Böhm and Blanka Stipetic, Schruf & Stipetic 2019.
Skupljač zmija (A Snake Collector), selection of best short stories with a forword by Dragan Velikić, Profil, Zagreb 2019.
Ovci na gips (Plaster Sheeps), translated on Macedonian by Dean Vasilevski, Ili-Ili, Skopje 2019.
Son of Prometheus (Prometejev sin), novel, Profil Zagreb, 2020.
Blut und Wasser (Red Water), a novel, translated to German by Blanka Stipetić, Schruf & Stipetic, 2020.
Žena s drugog kata (Woman From the Second Floor), a novel, Serbian edition, Laguna Beograd 2021.
L'eau rouge (Red Water), translated on French by Olivier Lannuzel, Agullo, 2021.
L'aqua rossa (Red Water), translated on Italian by Estera Miočić, Keller Editori 2022.
Tri kuće, tri prijatelja (Three Houses, Three Friends), an illustrated childen book, illustrated by Klara Rusan, Profil Zagreb 2022.
Mater Dolorosa, a novel, Stilus Zagreb 2022.
Book abouth South- the second expanded edition, Drugi plan, Belgrade, Serbia, 2022.
Crvena voda (Red Water), translated on Macedonian by Lenče Toseva and Katerina Bogoeva, Makedonika litera 2023.
Krvava voda (Red Water), translated on Slovakian by Alica Kulihova, Ikar Bratislava 2023.
Le collectionneur de serpents (The Snake Collector), selected short stories, translated on French by Olivier Lannuzel, Agullo 2023
Crvena voda /Red Water), Serbian edition, Laguna Belgrade 2023.