Zlatan Čolaković was born in Zagreb on February 13, 1955. He graduated with a degree in Comparative Literature and Philosophy (1979), finished his Masters (1982) and completed his doctorate in 1984, at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Philosophy. As a Fulbright scholar, from 1984-1988, he worked with Albert Lord at Harvard University in the Slavic division of Widener library. He lectured both at Harvard University and at Waterloo University in Ontario, Canada. While at Harvard, he worked on the Milman Parry Collection transcribing and editing texts from audio tapes of over 90,000 verses of Bosniac epic songs. At UCLA, in 1988, he held a public lecture based on his comprehensive article "South Slavic Muslim Epics, Problems of Collecting, Editing and Publishing" which was later printed in California Slavic Studies, vol. XIV (Los Angeles-Berkley-Oxford, 1992), in which he proved that there are a number of errors in the transcriptions of Harvard editions containing South Slavic epic songs. During 1989, he collected Bosniac epics on the field in Montenegro with his wife, Marina Rojc-Čolaković, and was the first scholar to collect full-length Bosniac traditional epic songs on film. In 1990, He moved to Canada where he conducted research on the corpus of oral epic transcriptions, which resulted in two large volumes and in his theory of Post-Tradition and the Post-Traditional Homer. As the editor and direct heir to the literary legacy of Enver Čolaković, he published many of his father's works Izabrane pjesme, novels Svijet, Lokljani, Iz Bosne o Bosni), and prepared Enver Čolaković's books for publication: Jedinac, Biblijske priče XX. stoljeća, Knjiga majci. In 1989, he published his book Three Eagles of the Tragic World (Tri orla tragičkoga svijeta) which encompasses all of the ancient Greek tragedies, a chapter on Aristotle's Poetics and The Mythic Story.
In 1991, he received the Government of Canada Award for his contribution to folklore. He founded and was chief researcher of the project "The Essence of Bosniac Epics" which was sponsored by Matica Hrvatska and financed by the Croatian Ministry of Science. The fruits of his field work in Montenegro, resulted in a book written jointly with his wife Marina Rojc-Čolaković Mrtva Glava Jezik Progovara (transl. A Dead Head Utters Words), Almanah, Podgorica, 2004, 670 pages. This book, written in English and Croatian, contains epics from Avdo Međedović and Murat Kurtagić, the translation of Murat Kurtagić' epic "Bristle the Chieftain", Dr. Čolaković's field diary with a commentary, a comprehensive analysis of the epics. In 2006, Čolaković published the essay "The Singer Above Tales" in Seminari Romani di Cultura Greca. In 24 arguments he outlines the difference between traditional and post-traditional singers and poets. In 2007, Almanah from Podgorica, Montenegro published two of his bilingual critical editions of the poems of Avdo Međedović. He was a member of the Croatian Writers' Society, PEN-a, and the Harvard Club of Croatia and Canada. In 2007, the publisher Almanah from Podgorica, Montenegro published two of his bilingual critical editions of Avdo Međedović's poems, the segments of Parry's manuscripts "The Questions from Bijelo Polje" and the essays of international scholars with introduction by Robert L. Fowler. Here he demonstrated his theory of the Post-traditional Homer. Zlatan Čolaković passed away in Great Barrington, MA on December 20, 2008. He received a posthumous honorary reward "Avdo Međedović" from Montenegro, for his scholarly work on Bosniac oral traditional epics. His comprehensive article Avdo Međedović's Post-Traditional Epics and
Their Relevance to Homeric Studies" is published in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, 2019, Cambridge University Press, UK.