Lana Bastašić is a Yugoslav-born writer. She majored in English and holds a master’s degree in cultural studies. She has published two collections of short stories, one book of children’s stories and one of poetry. Catch the Rabbit, her first novel, was published in Belgrade in 2018 and reprinted in Sarajevo in 2019. It was shortlisted for the 2019 NIN award and was translated into Catalan and Spanish in 2020. Her short stories have been included in regional anthologies and magazines throughout the former Yugoslavia. She has won the Best Short Story section at the Zija Dizdarević competition in Fojnica; the Jury Award at the ‘Carver: Where I’m Calling From’ festival in Podgorica; Best Short Story at the Ulaznica festival in Zrenjanin; Best Play by a Bosnian Playwright (Kamerni teatar 55 in Sarajevo) and the Targa Unesco Prize for poetry in Trieste. In 2016 she co-founded Escola Bloom in Barcelona and she now co-edits the school’s literary magazine Carn de cap. She is one of the creators of the ‘3+3 sisters’ project, which aims to promote women writers of the Balkans.
Catch the Rabbit is a story about two Bosnian women and their complicated friendship, structured as a Balkanic mirror of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Twelve years after they last saw each other, Sara receives a phone call from Lejla and decides to go on a road trip from Mostar to Vienna in order to find Armin, Lejla’s long-lost brother. But the journey will prove to be much more than an innocuous reconnection of old school friends: it is a road to a Balkanized ‘heart of darkness’, where Lejla’s life was reshaped by strict identity politics and her sense of self was lost. Growing up in a Serbian family, Sara has had all the privileges denied to her best friend and has managed to repress her guilt together with her mother tongue. Now, years later, she has to go down the ‘rabbit hole’ of her language and bear the Coleridgean burden of telling the story over and over again.