Corto Literary Agency represents some of the best and most prestigious writers from
South-Eastern Europe, i.e. the Balkans. It is a territory of diversity; an intersection of various cultures, traditions and practices, a territory that pulsates with creativity and variety.

Our mission is to choose only the finest and the most valuable in our pursuit to bring this talent closer to the international reading audience, to contribute to the open world of new stories, new voices and new ideas that can enrich and change us.

Besides representing authors from the Balkans, Corto Literary works as a co-agent with international publishers and agencies on Central and Eastern European markets. Our main objective is to match the right publishers with the right titles and thus contribute to greater success of our clients.


Kristian Novak is a Croatian writer, linguist and associate professor at the University in Rijeka. Born in Germany as a son of Croatian migrant workers, he later spent his childhood and youth in a small village in Međimurje, in the northernmost part of Croatia. He graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. He was standard member of the Croatian karate national team from 1996 to 2009, winning a range of individual and team awards at national and global karate championships, including the title of European Vice-Champion in karate.

His debut novel The Hanged was published in 2005. Dark Mother Earth (2013), his second novel, won The Tportal prize for Croatian novel of the year and is hailed as one of the best Croatian novels in the last 50 years. The novel was adapted for the stage with great success. A film adaptation is in progress as well (with award-winning Slovenian director Rok Biček), with Novak as co-screenwriter.

His third novel, Gypsy, But the Fairest of Them All (2016) won him a second Tportal award, as well as two further prestigious national awards, Ksaver Šandor Gjalski and Fran Galović Award. It was succesfully adapted for the stage as well (Croatian National Theater), and a television series based on the novel is in preparation. He is married, father of two children. He lives in Zagreb, Croatia.



“The pinnacle moments in Novak’s fiction, the moments when the reader takes a deep breath and thinks “that’s it, it cannot get any stronger than this” happen in a continuous stream already from page 20, taking us no further, just as in, say, Faulkner’s novels with no entry point or ending.” Miljenko Jergović | Author of Sarajevo Marlboro

  • Engrossing, impossible and inspiring love story between a middle-aged woman and a Roma man that appeals to readers of every generation.
  • Strong immigrant and human trafficking story echoing today’s situation in Croatia – highly relevant subject not enough covered in literature.
  • Thriller-like setting, murder mystery seen from multiple perspectives.

Gypsy, But the Fairest of Them All starts off as a literary crime novel, with a central enigma of brutal murders of several Johns Doe. But its four narrators soon weave a much more overarching web. Milena, a returnee to her riverside birthplace, will stir trouble falling in forbidden love with Sandokan nicknamed Sandy, a gypsy from North Croatia. Their lives will be entangled with the remaining two protagonists, who are a Kurd from Mosul on his way to Calais and a police PR manager handling the story of a refugee wave crossing Croatia.

Rights sold: Norway (Cappelen Damm), Slovenia (Modrijan), Serbia (Književna radionica Rašić), Film/TV rights sold to Antitalent.