Erica Johnson Debeljak

Erica Johnson Debeljak (1961) has an unusual profile for a Slovene writer. Born in San Francisco, California, she moved to New York in 1981, where she obtained degrees from Columbia and New York University. In 1993 she moved to Slovenia to marry the poet Aleš Debeljak. Her first book, Tujka v hiši domačinov (Foreigner in the House of Natives) (Obzorja), was published in 1999. In the decades that followed, she wrote many more books in a range of genres, including the popular memoir Prepovedani kruh (Forbidden Bread) (Modrijan, 2010). 

In 2016, her life once again underwent a dramatic change when her husband died suddenly. She co-edited and contributed the introductory essay to the unique tribute Saj grem samo mimo: Razglednice Aleša Debeljaka (Just Passing Through: The Postcards of Aleš Debeljak)(Mladinska knjiga, 2021), and oversaw the transformation of this book into a museum exhibition. In 2021, she published Devica, kraljica, vdova, prasica (Virgin, Wife, Widow, Whore) (Mladinska knjiga), which became an instant bestseller and won the Book of the Year Award at the 37th Slovenian Bookfair. She writes in English and her work is translated into Slovene. A member of the Slovene Writers’ Association and International PEN, she lives and works in Ljubljana.

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