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"Safe Spaces"

My short story, "Safe Spaces", was published in the online literary magazine "The Write Launch" in July 2019.

The story follows Sara, a Bosniak muslim who is forced to flee her hometown of Srebrenica in Bosnia with her husband and two young children on the eve of the massacre in July 1995.  At the height of the Bosnian conflict, Srebrencia was supposed to be a UN protected zone, safe from military action of any sort.  As such, the area had little military reinforcement, so a surprise attack from the Serbian army left the UN faction there woefully unable to protect the town from seige.  When the Serb army moved in, the city's male muslim population - men and boys alike - were ruthlessly murdered in a abhorrect act of genocide now referred to as the Massacre of Srebrenica.

I was compelled to write this story while researching ideas for a background for a character I was creating for another project. That character is Lukas, Sara's youngest child.  After writing the story many times through the eyes of 5-year-old Lukas, members of my local writing group suggested I try to visualise the story from the mother's point of view.  This instantly worked, and it was in this project that I discovered "the mother's voice" in my own authorial tone, which has guided much of my writing since.

You can read "Safe Spaces" here:


Sloppy Hills