Bosnian refugee’s memories mirror today’s harrowing images from Ukraine

Edita Mujkic

Today it’s Ukraine, thirty years ago it was Bosnia and Herzegovina. A devastating war destroying the country: homes in ruins, people in disbelief. Frightened mothers leaving their husbands behind and departing in panic to save their children.

In May 1992 Edita Mujkić fled war-torn Sarajevo with two young children, in a borrowed car, with two bags and fifty American dollars in her pocket. Her husband, Goran, stayed behind the impenetrable siege. Between Before and After, a true story about escape from besieged Sarajevo, tracks their six hundred days of involuntary separation: Edita’s fears, anxieties, and her attempts to extricate her husband from the besieged city; Goran’s epic struggles to survive in Sarajevo, with no food, no electricity, no water.

‘Refugee stories seem similar but deep down they are all different. Each story is unique,’ said Edita. ‘My story is about the power of love when everything else fails. A universal story of hope for everyone in a difficult situation: to love and persist with the fight for better times.’

Between Before and After follows Edita and her children from Sarajevo to Split, in Croatia, then to Penrith, in Northern England, where Edita continues her battle to help her husband escape from Sarajevo.

Lee Kofman, author of Imperfect, describes it as ‘an intricately painted depiction of a vanished place and time, an epic love story capable of withstanding atrocities as well as a clear-eyed study of the cruelty and the kindness of strangers. Between Before and After is a book that will break your heart but will also restore your faith in the resourcefulness and the capacity for renewal of the human soul. Powerful and completely absorbing.’

Excerpts from Between Before and After received several awards:

· Shortlisted for the 2020 Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story

· Winner of the 2017 Varuna Mentorship Award

· Runner-up in the 2016 Deborah Cass Writing Prize

· Longlisted for the 2016 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers

Between Before and After is published by Hawkeye Publishing and was released on 1 March.

Copies are available

/Public Release.