Bookish Birthday: Téa Obreht

28th Sep 2012

Tea Obreht

Once the Yugoslav Wars began, Obreht and her family moved to Cyprus, and then later Egypt, following her grandfather’s work. Once her grandparents returned to Belgrade in 1997, Obreht and her mother moved to America.

Obreht was actually born as Téa Bajraktarevic, and took the name of Obreht on her grandfather’s request. On his deathbed in 2006, her grandfather asked her to write under his name, and so her award winning name was born from a moment of grieving and family love.

Obreht studied for her undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California, and later received a MFA in fiction from the creative writing programme at Cornell University in 2009.

Obreht turns 27 on Sunday, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by her success at such a young age. To win the Orange Prize for Fiction a mere 26 years old, it seems like this author is due for a long and successful career.

The award winning novel The Tiger’s Wife follows the story of Natalia, a young doctor who arrives as a mercenary in an orphanage by the sea. As she begins her work with her life-long friend Zora, she begins to feel old age suspicions and secrets develop.

While the novel explores subjects foreign to Obreht’s experiences, emotional experiences can be found woven in to the novel. This personal edge alongside a thrilling narrative is surely amongst the reasons why Obreht’s novel received such critical acclaim from audiences and literary professionals alike.

At such a young age for an established writer, we are sure to see many more successful pieces from Obreht in the not-too-distant future. An exciting and fresh author with compelling perspectives in her literature, we wish Téa Obreht a very happy birthday indeed.

Gina Kershaw