Predrag Matvejević (Mostar, 7 October 1932 – Zagreb, 2 February 2017) was a Croatian writer, literary theorist and essayist. He is one of the most translated Croatian authors in the world. He began his study of French language and literature in Sarajevo, and completed it in Zagreb. In 1967, he obtained his Ph.D. in comparative literature and aesthetics at the Sorbonne in Paris. In period 1959-1991, he taught French literature at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb, when he emigrated, initially living for several years in Paris, and then in Rome. As full or visiting professor, he taught at several foreign universities (New York University, 1982, Ecole des langues orientales, 1991, Nouvelle Sorbonne, 1991-1994, La Sapienza, 1994-2007, Collège de France 1997, Université catholique de Louvain, 2000). He received several honorary doctorates (Perpignan, Genova, Trieste, Corsica, Mostar). He was president of the Croatian PEN Centre (1980-1989), and the honorary lifelong vice president of PEN International in London. In 2011, he received a Kiklop Lifetime Achievement Award , and in 2013 Gariwo honoured him with the Duško Kondor Award for Civil Courage.As an engaged intellectual, he promoted the rejection of ideological dogmatism and freedom of intellectual creativity, and for the last thirty years of his life he participated in many literary and social debates. In Katarina Luketić's words, “the entirety of his work (books, writings, public activity and choices) was deeply dictated by the impulse to act on reality, politics and 'live' culture, and to create, as much as possible, an area of freedom for himself and others. (...) The struggle for freedom of speech and the rights of individuals persecuted by the regime, as well as protests against post-Yugoslav authoritarianism and nationalism were constants for Matvejević.” In the 1970's he began to write public letters of protest, requesting the release from prison and leniency for many dissidents of that time, including members of the Croatian Spring. In 1986, he self-published two hundred of these letters in the book Otvorena pisma – moralne vježbe [Open letters – moral exercises], which was classified as trash literature by the regime at the time. Matvejević saw the reason why he was not arrested nor prosecuted himself in the international ties he had as vice president of PEN International and as a recipient of the Legion of Honour, as well as his friendship with Miroslav Krleža.
- Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina