Dubrovnik and its residents have every right to be proud of the writers, painters and scientists who have given their share to its amazing heritage. Their pride is even greater when people who continue this tradition in the present time are concerned, such as the academician Luko Paljetak.
Son of Niko and Marija Skvičalo, Paljetak was born in Dubrovnik on 19 August 1943, and spent his childhood and adolescence in the streets of Prijeko and Nalješkovićeva. He studied at the Teacher-Training School in Dubrovnik, later graduated both in Croatian and English language and literature, and obtained his doctors degree from the Faculty of Arts in Zadar in 1992, defending his doctoral dissertation Literary Work of Ante Cettina. In 1997 he became full member of the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts. For versatility and universality of his art Luko Paljetak surpasses his time. Muses adore him, and his output is varied and opulent, like that of the greatest minds of the renaissance period. The works of Luko Paljetak result from his need to articulate and preserve his ideas and thoughts.
The art forms he employs are books of poetry, childrens books, plays, radio plays, poetry and graphic editions, theatre texts for children and young people, studies, treatises, reviews, feuilletons, anthologies, cantata texts, librettos, gramophone records and exhibitions.., to mention some of them.
In Croatia he is widely known as a distinctive style translator of the European classics. Polyglot Paljetak has translated poetry, fiction and plays of Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, George Gordon Byron, Malcolm Lowry, France Prešern, William Wycherley, Dylan Thomas, Edgar A. Poe, Geoffrey Chaucer, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Elizabeth B. Browning T. S. Eliot, Guillaume Apollinaire...
The works of academician Paljetak have been awarded 34 times, including the Ivana Brlić Mažuranić Award for childrens literature and the collection Of Mice and Cats Upside-Down (Miševi i mačke naglavačke), The City of Dubrovnik Arts Award, Silver Medal of the Republic for the translation of the entire output of the greatest Slovene poet France Prešern, the Decoration of Danica with Marko Marulić Order, a nomination for Hans Christian Andersen Award, and numerous awards for set design.
Luko Paljetak has extensively worked at the puppet theatre as director, dramaturgist and playwright. In addition to the plays for his most sincere audiences - the children, Paljetak writes and translates for the grown-ups.
The fastidious theatre audiences of Dubrovnik had the opportunity to watch the plays by the greatest living artist of Dubrovnik such as Tell Me About Augusta (Govori mi o Augusti), staging of his radio play The Last Flower of the Summer (Posljednji ljetni cvijet), as well as Three Jumps of the Lizzard (Tri skoka gušterice ili život Miha Pracata Lopuđanina) and After Hamlet (Poslije Hamleta) in the open-air venues of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
To him the sources of inspiration have been the beauty and uniqueness of Dubrovnik. He has reciprocated many times with his exquisite, inspired verses and words. When receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of Dubrovnik, which is given to its most meritorious citizens on St Blaises Day, in his address on behalf of all the recipients he said: We have been awarded two times. The first award is to be born and to live in this and such a City, held in the hand of our patron St Blaise like a cream cake. The second one is the award that we have just received.
The citizens of Dubrovnik are both proud and privileged for any opportunity to know and meet him in Stradun, even if usually in a hurry, as if the time was about to steal some new idea of his. In his golden sixties, Luko Paljetak has a magnificent artistic output behind him, as well as many new sources of inspiration waiting to be discovered.