Radmila Petrović


Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

At the Saari Residence, I plan to develop further my fourth collection of poems about the family and social burden that an individual carries with them, dealing with childhood traumas, struggling with social pressures and the shocking dynamics of the new and inherited. My verses are my rebellion against the culture of silence present in the Balkans, which has damaged us more than wars. I write wondering what happens if we say everything we are “forbidden” to discuss. I am trying to write it all in the language of nature with words as strong as thunder and yet as gentle as a newborn lamb.

I am not afraid of dismantling existing cultural and literary canons, and dealing with these sensitive issues is urgent. In my literary work, I also address those who have not experienced the same narratives that I have, in order to make them aware of the consequences of these narratives.

Furthermore, I plan to explore the possibility of performing some of my poems, producing a couple of short videos based on the motives of my poetry, and using my time to research gender theory. The residency will help me find the much-needed distance from the region I portray, which would bring me even closer to it.


Radmila Petrović was born in 1996 in Užice. Graduating from the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, where she also earned a master’s degree, Petrovic is one of the most sought-after poets in former Yugoslavia. She has been represented in anthologies, and domestic and international journals and participated in numerous festivals and poetry readings across Europe. As the laureate of the 42nd Lim River Poetry Evenings, she published a collection of poems “The Scent of Soil “(House of Culture “Pivo Karamatijević”, Priboj, 2014), and as the winner of the 22nd Poetry Competition “Desanka Maksimović” she published a collection “Cellulose Rock’ n’ Roll “(SKZ and Valjevo Gymnasium, Valjevo, 2015). Her third collection of poetry, “My Mom Knows the Kind of Things that Happen in Cities”, published by PPM Enklava in early summer 2020, has sold over 11 000 copies. The same collection was published in North Macedonia in 2021, and German, Polish, Slovenian and Bosnian editions are in the works. Her poetry has also been translated into English, French, Greek, Italian, Slovenian, Spanish, Hebrew, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Latvian and other languages. She has been a scholarship holder of the Government of the Republic of Serbia. She has stayed at writing residencies in Skopje (Reading Balkans), Berlin (S. Fischer Stiftung), Vienna (Q21), Prishtina (READ) and Sofia (Traduki).