Branislav Nusic was born on 8th October in 1864 in Belgrade as Alkibijad Nusa, to a Cincar merchant’s family, of the father corce and mother Ljubica. The family soon moved to Smederevo, where Nusic finished his elementary school and the first two years of the boarding school, but he graduated in Belgrade in 1882. When he was eighteen, he officially changed his name into Branislav Nušic and under that name he graduated from the Belgrade Law School in in 1884.

At the age of nineteen, in 1883, Nusic wrote his first comedy, Parliamentarian, which was commended and supported by the most eminent writers, but nevertheless remained in his desk drawer for thirteen years, and was not staged, because Aleksandar Obrenovic, the ruling prince, did not like it and claimed that it was „a mockery of the defenders of parliamentarism“. But Nusic continues to write and participates in turbulent historical events at the end of 19th century. In 1885 he completed his regular military service and, as a member of a regular military unit, took part in the Serbian-Bulgarian War. Revolted by the fact that none of the state officials was at the funeral of Mihailo Katanic, a hero from the Serbian-Bulgarian War, he wrote a satirical poem, Two Slaves (Dva raba), for the opposition newspaper of the time, Daily Newspaper, and for that he was sentenced to two years of prison. In the prison he wrote the comedy Protection. How did he get a permission to writec Nusic knew that the prison superintendent read his mail and therefore started to “write” letters to his cousin, a state minister. Thanks to his quick wit, he acquired a privileged treatment for himself and – a right to write.

When he left the prison – as if being one of his heroes – Nušic was awarded nothing less than a position of a consul, a service that he would perform for some ten years and during which he would stay in Bitola (where he married), Serez, Thessalonica, Skopje and Pristina. In 1900, Nusic was appointed a secretary to the Ministry of Education, and soon thereafter he became a head dramaturg of the National Theatre in Belgrade. In 1904, he was appointed the manager of the Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad, but left this position a year later and moved to Belgrade, where he became active in journalism. He started to write under the pseudonym „Ben Akiba“.

He returned to Macedonia in 1912. First he lived in Bitola, then in Skopje, where he founded a theatre in 1913. During the First World War, Nusic retreated with the Serbian army all the way through Albania, and then recovered in Italy, Switzerland and France. In this world war, Nusic suffered the greatest family tragedy. His only son, Ban, was first heavily wounded, and when his wounds healed, he returned to the trench and got killed. Nusic never really got over his loss, and showed his feelings in his prose work The Nine-hundred-fifteenth – a tragedy of a nation. However, Nusic would not have been Nusic, if there were no anecdotes related to his sufferings in the First World War. When he saw that he had to retreat with the Serbian army, Nusic made a selection and threw away a number of his unfinished manuscripts and notes, and took with himself all the works that were finished, or sketched in details,. All the way to Pristina, where the retreat was by railway, he carried with himself the manuscripts of almost fifteen kilograms weight. But, since the retreat from Pristina to Prizren required walking, he was forced to make a new selection. The Suspect was among the rejected manuscripts. The drama was left with an Albanian who gave Nušic his word of honour („besa“) to safeguard the text. Although the Bulgarians attacked Pristina during the war and burned everything, even all Nusic’s possessions, the Albanian kept his „besa“ and the text of The Suspect was saved.

After the First World War, Nusic was appointed the first head of the Art Department of the Ministry of Education. He remained at this position till 1923. Thereafter he became the manager of the National Theatre in Sarajevo, to return to Belgrade in 1927. In the last decade of his life, Branislav Nusic became an opponent again, and, as a member of the National Front, he spoke publicly against fascism. He was elected a full member of the Serbian Royal Academy on 10th February 1933. He died in Belgrade on 19th January 1938.

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