Dževad Karahasan

Diary of an Exodus - Revised edition

With images | Original Bosnian title: Dnevnik selidbe, first published in 1993 by Durieux d.o.o
(German title: Tagebuch der Übersiedlung)
ca. 223 pages
Dževad Karahasan
Foto: Dževad Karahasan
© Jürgen Bauer

Dževad Karahasan, born in Duvno/Yugoslavia in 1953, is an author, playwright and essayist. The Siege of Sarajevo is the subject of the Diary of an Exodus (1993), translated into ten languages, of the essay collection entitled The Book of Gardens (2004) and of his novels The Rink of Shahrijar (1997) and Sara and Serafina (2000). His works also include the novel The Nocturnal Council (2006), Reports from a Dark World (2007), a collection of stories, as well as The Shadows of Cities (2010), a collection of essays. Karahasan has received numerous awards, including most recently the Goethe Prize 2020. He lives in Graz and Sarajevo.

Awards (selection):

2020: Goethe Prize of the City of Frankfurt am Main
2019: Jeanette Schocken Prize (Bremerhaven)
2017: Franz Nabl Prize (Graz, Austria)
2014: Honorary doctorate, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Basel
2012: Goethe Medal of the Goethe-Institut (Weimar)
2012: Ehrengabe of the Heinrich Heine Society (Düsseldorf)
2010: Vilenica International Literary Prize of the Slovene Writers’ Association (Vilenica, Slovenia)
2004: Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding
1999: Herder Prize (Vienna, Austria)
1995: Bruno Kreisky Prize for Political Books for Diary of an Exodus
1994: Prix européen de l’essai Charles Veillon Lausanne
1991: Literary Prize of the Franciscan Province of Bosna Srebrena
1990: Yugoslavian Novel Prize (Sisak)
1981: Veselin Masleša Prize (Sarajevo)

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Previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: USA & Canada (Kodansha America), Spanish world rights (Circulo de Lectores / Galaxia Gutenberg), France (Calmann-Lévy), Italy (Il Saggiatore), Netherlands (Van Gennep), Czech Republic (Mlada Fronta), Slovenia (Wieser)

The major work by the great European author

A permanent testimony to humaneness in dark times


»White with fear and sleeplessness we set out to see what was left of Marijin Dvor.« Once more they have been spared: a piece of shrapnel missed the author and his wife and hit the books instead: William Faulkner, Nadezhda Mandelstam, Gottfried Keller’s Green Henry. Dževad Karahasan describes life in besieged Sarajevo in short, unforgettable scenes.

A man who steps out of the queue, sits down on a low wall and dies. The evacuation of the Jewish community. The absurd conversation about the hunger and the cold with a French correspondent. Sarcasm, humour, kindness and an impressive intellectual confidence characterise the attitude with which Karahasan writes about everyday life during a war and about the migration of a culturally and religiously polyphonic city into the sphere of the ideal.

The Diary of an Exodus is a permanent testimony of the Siege of Sarajevo – less in the way it documents everyday life but in its intellectual and ethical charisma.


»His books are absolutely contemporary and cunningly ageless at the same time.« Deutschlandradio Kultur

»I would find it difficult to name my favourite book by Dževad Karahasan … why not Reports from a Dark World or the incomparable Diary of an Exodus?« Ingo Schulze in his laudatory speech, Goethe Prize 2020

»Readers let Dževad Karahasan take them by the hand with great pleasure. The Bosnian novelist and essayist, who grew up with the Quran, well-versed in Goethe and Georg Büchner, appears as a welcome pilot amidst the perils of West-East misunderstandings.« Ilma Rakusa, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Other publications

Der Trost des Nachthimmels/The Solace of the Night Sky (2016)

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Chinese simplex rights (Shanghai Translation Publishing House), Bulgaria (Paradox), Slovenia (Beletrina), Turkey (Iletisim), Greece (Hestia), Iran (Donya-e-Eqtesad), Part 1: Macedonia (Templum)

Sara und Serafina/Sara and Serafina (2014)

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Turkey (Ketebe); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Spanish world rights (Galaxia Gutenberg), France (Laffont), Italy (Il Saggiatore), Sweden (Bosnisk-Hercegovinska Riksförbundet i Sverige), Slovenia (Cankarjeva Založba)

Berichte aus der dunklen Welt/Reports from a Dark World (2007)

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Poland (Borderland), Bulgaria (Paradox)

Der nächtliche Rat/Night Council (2005)

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English world rights (Anubih), Bulgaria (Paradox), Slovenia (Cankarjeva Založba), Turkey (Apollon)