Bosnian fiction author talks writing, experiences

An acclaimed author recently talked about how there is not one solution in fiction. It is all up for interpretation.

“You own your own words,” said Ismet Prcic, author, and now U.S. resident from Bosnia.

His novel, “Shards” which won the Los Angles Times Art Seidenbaum Award, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and other national and local Oregon awards as Prcic is now living in Portland.

The novel which is based around the 1990s Bosnian War, chronicles the life of a Bosnian who shares Prcic’s name and is learning to cope with leaving his family and living in California.

The plot becomes confusing when a boy named Mustafa is introduced who stays to fight in Bosnia.

Prcic said to the audience, jokingly, “Only 23 percent of the story is true.”

He mentioned that the novel is written is first, second, and third person as well as sections of diary entries and letters.

The novel is quite dark and depressing, however, Prcic was in high spirits and even comedic with his audience composed of mainly McMinnville community members.

The event was sponsored by Nicholson Library, the McMinnville Public Library, Third Street Books and the Linfield English department.

Library director Susan Barnes Whyte, who introduced Prcic said, “The novel takes the form for a chaotic experience.”

Whyte elaborated that she and Associated professor of English David Sumner, debated whether Prcic’s book was a novel or a memoir, as it takes a variety of textual forms.

Prcic explained that Bosnia has still yet to recover from the war in the 1990s.

Prcic was asked by an audience member if he ever thought about going back to Bosnia. Prcic responded, “It’s not the same country that I left … It’s sad to go back.”

Prcic explained that everyone wants to leave Bosnia because of its government. The country has high unemployment, especially for young people. It is a very religiously diverse country, as it is 51 percent Muslim, along with many Catholics, Jewish, and Orthodox Christian believers.

Senior Creative Writing major Andrea Snyder said, “I enjoyed his bluntness and take on reality,” as he was serious but also joking often during his talk.

Prcic is currently working on a new book that will discuss themes similar to those in “Shards.”

Jonathan Williams

Opinion Editor

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