In 1973, Zoran Živković graduated in literary theory from the Department of General Literature, Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade; he received his master's degree in 1979 with the work “Antropomorphism and the motif of the first contact in the works of Arthur C. Clarke” ("Antropomorfizam i motiv prvog kontakta u delima Artura Klarka") and his doctorate in 1982 from the same university. His dissertation, "The Appearance of Science Fiction as a Genre of Artistic Prose" ("Nastanak naučne fantastike kao žanra umetničke proze"), appeared in his Contemporaries of the Future anthology, along with several of the stories discussed.
Also in 1982, Živković founded the Polaris imprint, Yugoslavia's first privately owned publishing house, through which he released over a hundred books.
Zoran Živković also wrote and hosted a television series about science fiction cinema, titled "The Starry Screen" ("Zvezdani ekran," 1984). The show later inspired a book of critical essays under the same title.
He wrote himself the entire text of his large, richly illustrated, two-tome Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (Enciklopedija naučne fantastike) but since the year 2000 discontinued his engagement in SF and in literary studies as such, and turned entirely to writing prose. He is currently a professor of creative writing at the Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade.
In 1994 Živković's novel "The Fourth Circle" won the "Miloš Crnjanski" Award. In 2007 Živković's novel "The Bridge " won the "Isidora Sekulić" Award. In 2007 Živković won the "Stefan Mitrov Ljubiša" Award for his life achievement in literature.