Hedina Tahirović Sijerčić (b. 1960) is a Sarajevo-born Gurbet Romni who devotes herself equally to journalism, writing, activism, research and teaching. From the 1980s onwards she was a pioneer of Romani broadcasting in the former Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as editor-in-chief of the radio programme ‘Lačho džive, Romalen’ (1986–92) and of the TV Sarajevo programme ‘Malavipe’ (1991–92).

Like many Bosnian Roma, Tahirović Sijerčić emigrated in the 1990s, first to Germany and later to Canada. In emigration she was engaged in educational activities for Romani children, research and publishing. Although most of her literary works have been published in emigration, they are based on motifs from the cultural heritage of her own Gurbet community.

Tahirović Sijerčić publishes in Romani, Bosnian and English. So far, she has written five children´s picture books, three collections of folklore, two poetry books, one biography (of her father) and several dictionaries based on the Gurbet dialect.

Her literary work, especially her folklore collections and children´s books, are based, on the one hand, on the Romani folklore motifs and narratives that she heard while growing up. On the other hand, the descriptions in her poetry and prose works relate to her personal experiences as a Romni, activist and woman (e.g., ‘Rom like Thunder’). Her engagement in literature also involved translations of works of fiction into Romani.

Tahirović Sijerčić has been awarded a number of literature prizes, among others the Ferenc Sztojka Prize in Zagreb, Croatia (2011), the prize for the ‘Best Promotion’ of a book at the XXI Book Fair in Sarajevo (2009) and the international poetry prize ‘The Golden Pen of Papusza’ in Tarnow, Poland (2010).

Tahirović Sijerčić is also a dedicated Romani rights activist with a special interest in practitioner work in the field of children´s education and women´s rights. She has coedited an anthology of female Romani writers. As a researcher, she focuses on the intersection between gender, Romani ethnicity and literature and had published a number of academic works on the subject.

Selected bibliography

Tahirović Sijerčić, Hedina. 2004. Romany Legends. London: Turnshare.

Tahirović Sijerčić, Hedina. 2007. Dukh / Pain. Toronto: Magoria Books.

Tahirović Sijerčić, Hedina. 2009. Romani Paramicha. Stories and Legends of the Gurbeti Roma.Toronto: Magoria Books.

Tahirović Sijerčić, Hedina. 2009. Romani prince Penga. Toronto: Magoria Books.

Tahirović Sijerčić, Hedina. 2009. An unusual family. Toronto: Magoria Books.

Tahirović Sijerčić, Hedina. 2010. Karankochi-Kochi. Toronto: Magoria Books.

Tahirović-Sijerčić, Hedina. 2010. Čuj, osjeti bol /Ashun, hachar Dukh! Sarajevo: KNS.

Tahirović Sijerčić, Hedina. 2010. Shtar Phrala / Four Brothers. Toronto: Magoria Books. [Illustrated children’s stories in English and Romani].

Tahirović Sijerčić, Hedina. 2011. Fish / Macho. Toronto: Magoria Books.

Tahirović Sijerčić, Hedina. 2011. Rom like Thunder. Toronto: Magoria Books.

Tahirović-Sijerčić, Hedina. 2012. Rom k’o Grom. Sarajevo: KNS.

Tahirović-Sijerčić, Hedina; Levine-Rasky, Cynthia (eds). 2017. A Romani Women’s Anthology: Spectrum of the Blue Water. Toronto: Inanna Publication.