Mehmed "Meša" Selimović (26 April 1910 - 11 July 1982) was a Yugoslav writer from Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of the greatest writers in Serbo-Croatian of the 20th century. His most famous works deal with Bosnia and Herzegovina and the culture of the Bosniak inhabitants of the Ottoman province of Bosnia.
Selimović was born on April 26, 1910 in Tuzla, present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he graduated from elementary school and high school. In 1930, he enrolled to study the Serbo-Croatian language and literature at the University of Belgrade. In 1936, he returned to Tuzla to teach in the gymnasium that today bears his name.
Statues for Meša Selimović (left) and Ismet Mujezinović in Tuzla
He spent the first two years of World War II in the hometown Tuzla, where he was arrested for participation in the Partisan anti-fascist resistance movement in 1943. After the release, he moved to the liberated territory, became a member of Communist Party of Yugoslavia and the political commissar of Tuzla Detachment of the Partisans. During the war, Meša's brother, also a communist, was executed by partisans' firing squad for alleged theft, without trial; Meša's letter in defense of the brother was to no avail.
That episode apparently affected Meša's later contemplative introduction to Death and the Dervish, where the main protagonist Ahmed Nurudin fails to rescue his imprisoned brother. After the war, he briefly resided in Belgrade, and in 1947 he moved to Sarajevo, where he was the professor of High School of Pedagogy and Faculty of Philology, art director of Bosna Film, chief of the drama section of the National Theater, and chief editor of the publishing house Svjetlost.
Exasperated by a latent conflict with several local politicians and intellectuals, in 1971 he moved to Belgrade, where he lived until his death in 1982. In his 1976 letter to the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts, Selimović argued that despite his Bosniak roots (he was a descendant of a notable bey family), he regarded himself as a Serb and a Serb writer.