Šemso Avdić is a Xoroxano Rom born in Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina (in what was then the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) in 1950. Like many Bosnian Roma and Yugoslav Roma in general, from the 1970s onwards he was living and working in both Yugoslavia and Italy. Šemso’s family migrated to Sweden in 2000, where he works at the Romani Cultural Centre in Norrköping.

His first poetry collection was published in Italy in 1985. Since then, Avdić has published eight books of poetry, prose, memoirs and essays in Romani, Italian, Serbo-Croatian and Bosnian. He writes poetry and essays in Romani and publishes them in mainstream periodicals in the countries of the former Yugoslavia as well as in Italy, France and Sweden.

In his book Karta u jednom smjeru [One-way ticket], Avdić uses narratives and photographs to document the destiny of Roma from his native town, Banja Luka, in the 20th century. He describes how the growing nationalism of the 1990s forced them to leave Bosnia and how today that country is somewhere they no longer feel at home.


Avdić, Šemso. 1985. Poesie. Edited and translated by Sergio Francese. Cuneo: Edizioni Primalpe.

Avdić, Šemso. 1993. Sanguina il cuoredei Rom/ Ratvaro lil o romano. Forlì: Edizioni Forum.

Avdić, Šemso. 1998. Romi od rodjenja do smrti. Banja Luka: B.Z.K. Preporod.

Avdić, Šemso. 2010. Romska sudbina lancima okovana: zbirka poezije. Banja Luka: Dnevne nezavisne novine.

Avdić, Šemso. 2014. Karta u jednom smjeru. Odiseja Roma Banjaluke Krajem XX Vijeka. Banja Luka: Grafid.

Avdić, Šemso. 2016. Banjaluko ljubavi snovima viđena. Banja Luka: Književna zajednica ‘Vaso Pelagić’.