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Black Butterflies: Shortlisted for Women's Prize 2023

Black Butterflies: Shortlisted for Women's Prize 2023 by Priscilla Morris

As seen:

  • Women's Prize for Fiction 2023 Shortlist
  • Wilbur Smith Adventure Prize 2023 Shortlist

By Priscilla Morris

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Inspired by real-life accounts of the Siege of Sarajevo, only thirty years ago, Black Butterflies is a heartrending and utterly captivating portrait of disintegration, resilience and hope.

Exploring the Siege of Sarajevo through the lens of one woman’s experience, Morris’ haunting novel about a painter and teacher who refuses to flee combines the traumatic realities of war with hope, resilience and solace in art.

Sarajevo, spring 1992. Each night, nationalist gangs erect barricades, splitting the diverse city into ethnic enclaves; each morning, the residents – whether Muslim, Croat or Serb – push the makeshift barriers aside.

When violence finally spills over, Zora, an artist and teacher, sends her husband and elderly mother to safety with her daughter in England. Reluctant to believe that hostilities will last more than a handful of weeks, she stays behind while the city falls under siege. As the assault deepens and everything they love is laid to waste, black ashes floating over the rooftops, Zora and her friends are forced to rebuild themselves, over and over. Theirs is a breathtaking story of disintegration, resilience and hope.

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