Born in Hercegovina in the village Petrovići in 1938. He early left his home with one goal - to become a writer. Kovač financed himself from his early years, often changed high schools because of disputes with professors. He studied dramaturgy in Belgrade, but never completed his studies. He started to publish novels, short stories, theatre plays and was immediately accused for ideological deviations. He was one of the representatives of the famous "Yugoslav Black Wave" in literature. His short stories collection "Rane Luke Meštrovića" was first awarded as the best short stories book but later condemned and banned as a "black picture of reality".
He then focused on writing for film. His most famous scripts were done in Croatia. Among others, he wrote scripts for some Croatian classics such as e.g. Krsto Papić's "Handcuffs". However, his most famous and acclaimed collaboration was with Lordan Zafranović. For him Kovač wrote his best known films, including "An Occupation in 26 Pictures" and "The Fall of Italy".
Stories and novels by Kovač have been often awarded but also ideologically condemned and banned. After Milošević came to power, Kovač became actively engaged as an enemy of the regime. After he was harshly beaten on a political meeting by chetnikhs (Serbian nationalists), he left Serbia and moved to Croatia, to his wife's hometown, Rovinj, where he started to write against Croatian nationalists.
He won almost all important awards for literature in the region and his books were translated into ten languages. His work among others, includes novels Gubilište, Moja sestra Elida, Malvina, Vrata od utrobe, Ruganje s dušom, Uvod u drugi život, Kristalne rešetke, Grad u zrcalu, collections of essays Na odru, Cvjetanje mase, Evropska trulež i drugi eseji, Elita gora od rulje, collections of short stories Rane Luke Meštrovića, Nebeski zaručnici etc. Kovač is a recipient of Swedish PEN Tucholsky Award, Serbian Andic Prize, Slovenian Vilenica Award, Croatian Vladimir Nazor Award and August Šenoa Award, Bosnian Meša Selimović Award, Montenegrian Njegoš Award, Trinaestojulska Award and German Herder Prize and many other awards.
Mali vojnici (1967, dir. Bato Čengić), Lisice (1970, dir. Krsto Papić), Muke po Mati (1975, dir. Lordan Zafranović), Okupacija u 26 slika (1978, dir. Lordan Zafranović), Pad Italije (1981, dir. Lordan Zafranović), Večernja zvona (1986, dir. Lordan Zafranović)