Novi Sad, but also the literary scene of the entire former Yugoslavia has lost two big names – Milan Nenadić and his wife Ileana Ursu Nenadić, who were tragically killed. Both were award-winning writers, who left behind numerous works of poetry, translations, essays, literary criticism, inseparable parts of the literary and cultural heritage of this area.
This is a short conversation, which we had with Milan Nenadić last year, when we visited his home as part of the action of distributing gifts of gratitude to retired artists from Novi Sad, for their great contribution to culture, but also for the endurance they showed during the coronavirus pandemic since they were the group of citizens who have been in quarantine for the longest time.
‘I have published close to 40 books in my career and each of them has received a national, significant award. The last one I was awarded was the ‘Desanka Maksimović’ award in Valjevo, the first award I received was called the Trebinjske Večeri Award, in 1971, and last year, in 2019, they also awarded me the Dučić Award.’
While spending his days in quarantine he answered on whether the situation with the coronavirus pandemic will make humanity wiser:
‘I think that such horrors are heavenly circumstances, I came to the notion that human society is not for this nature, we do not know how to respect it. It will be difficult for us to come to our senses, and there is a saying, when I come to my senses, time will fly. My aunt always told me ‘You will see that it is easier to get into years than to come to mind.’ I spent my days in quarantine as best I could, lying down, reading, I just went to get the newspaper and back. I went back to some old books and ‘bad manuscripts’, because until it is bound it is all manuscript or ‘bad manuscript’.’
Milan said about the action at the time, which was the reason for our visit, but also about the thoughts that led us to a pandemic that changed our lives:
‘Such actions should be welcomed, however, there are few actions where people would have to remember their loved ones. If no one remembers you, no one calls you and no one comes to you, then you have no name. As one poet from Nikšić said, life passes through cherries. That’s in a second. Easy-Bake Oven.’