About the life of Marija Jurić is much unknown, even the date of her birth. But, by the insight into the family books at the Croatian State Archive it was found that she was born on the 2nd March in 1873 in the village Negovec near Vrbovec in a wealthy family of the mother Josipa Domin and father Ivan Jurić. She was baptized on the 3rd March 1873 with the Christian name Marianna. Although of a large wealth, the family, in which there were four children, she lived, as she says, quite unhappy. She spent her childhood in Croatian Zagorje, where her father owned the estate Golubovec (near Lobor) and managed the estate Šanjugovo, owned by Baron Geza Rauch.
Marija grew up in the countryside and spent her childhood in that Zagorje-dominion. The primary school, in which she stood out by intelligence and talent, she attended in Varaždin and Zagreb. The father was planning to send Marija to study in Switzerland, but her mother was against it. Marija expressed her desire to be an actress. With fifteen years she leaves her education, at the very end, because of the chaotic family relationships and from then on her school will be her life. She still wanted to have some professional education, and her great desire was then to become a postman. After six years of education in Zagreb’s monastery of Sisters of Mercy St. Vinko Paulski (Vincent de Paul) Zagorka leaves Zagreb.
At her mother’s insistence end of 1891 she agrees to marry the man she did not even know, the Hungarian railway officer Andrija Matraj. Although her father was against the marriage because of the big age difference of the couple (seventeen years) he didn’t forbid the marriage, so Marija left with her husband to Hungary (at the beginning of 1892, to Szombathely). He had no understanding for the ideals of his wife. He was uptight nationalist and advocated the Magyarization of Croatia. Her husband decides soon to exploit Zagorka’s literary talent, so she is being offered high and profitable employments, if she chooses to write in the Hungarian spirit. Because of the love for her homeland, she rejected this offer, which in addition to the old conflict with her mother’s and husband’s behaviour brings the marriage to the end after only three years, when she makes a dramatic escape from the husband’s house (1895) and cuts off the relationship to her parent’s home. She flees first to her uncle in Srijemska Mitrovica, and then to Zagreb. With help of her father she arranges the divorce, which ends with the charge of the prosecutor (Zagorka), thanks to her mother and her testimony against the daughter. Her husband was released of alimony and of obligation to return her personal belongings. Later, she married again her colleague – journalist Slavko Vodvárka, and this marriage lasted for more than ten years (1900 – 1914), away from the public eye.
She was buried on Mirogoj in arcades of deserving citizens, on the 4th December 1957.
The real reader’s confirmation she acquired with the series of novels Grička Vještica (the witch from Grič) (Male Novine from 1912 to 1914). As a result of the adoption of Strossmayer’s proposal in the period from 1912 – 1953 she wrote and published about twenty novels. Her work did not follow the literary and stylistic matrix of time in which it was published, so it was not followed by serious literary critics.
In the same time, the readers expected impatiently new episodes of her novels, which were published in Male Novine, Jutarnji, Obzor, Ženski list, Hrvatski dnevnik and Hrvatica. Also, on persuasion of Strossmayer himself, she began to write historical novels and dramas.