Ivo Andrić (October 9, 1892 – March 13, 1975) was a Yugoslav novelist, short story writer, and the 1961 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature from Yugoslavia. His novels, e.g. The Bridge on the Drina and Bosnian Chronicle dealt with life in his native Bosnia under the Ottoman Empire. His native house in Travnik has been transformed into a Museum and is open for visiting.
Andrić was born on October 9, 1892, to a Catholic family of Bosnian Croats in Travnik, mahala Zenjak number 9, Bosnia and Herzegovina, then part of the Ottoman Empire, under control of Austria-Hungary. Originally named Ivan, he became known by the diminutive Ivo. When Andrić was two years old, his father Antun died. Because his mother Katarina was too poor to support him, he was raised by his mother's family in the eastern Bosnian town of Višegrad on the river Drina. There he saw the Ottoman Bridge, later made famous in the novel The Bridge on the Drina (Na Drini ćuprija).
Ivo Andrić, behind the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad
Andrić attended the Jesuit gymnasium in Travnik, followed by Sarajevo's gymnasium and later the universities in Zagreb, Vienna, Kraków and Graz. Because of his political activities, Andrić was imprisoned by the Austrian government during World War I (first in Maribor and later in the Doboj detention camp) alongside others pro-Yugoslavs civilians. Under the newly-formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) Andrić became a civil servant, first in the Ministry of Faiths and then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he pursued a successful diplomatic career, as Deputy Foreign Minister and later Ambassador to Germany.
He was also a delegate of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia at the 19th, 21st, 23rd and 24th sessions of the League of Nations. Ivo greatly opposed the movement of Stjepan Radić, the president of the Croatian Peasant Party. His ambassadorship ended in 1941 after the German invasion of Yugoslavia. During World War II, Andrić lived quietly in Belgrade, completing the three of his most famous novels which were published in 1945, including The Bridge on the Drina.
After the war, Andrić held a number of ceremonial posts in the new Communist government of Yugoslavia, including that of the member of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1961, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country." He donated all the prize money for the improvement of libraries in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Following the death of his wife in 1968, he began reducing his public activities. In 1969 he was elected an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. As time went by, he became increasingly ill and eventually died on March 13, 1975, in Belgrade (then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and today Serbia.