Scott Simon: 'Pretty Birds' Amid Balkans Violence

detail from the cover of 'Pretty Birds'

The city of Sarajevo, seen in a detail from the cover of Pretty Birds. Random House hide caption

itoggle caption Random House

In the early 1990s, NPR journalist Scott Simon reported from war-torn Sarajevo. Those experiences formed the basis for his debut novel, Pretty Birds, the story of a 16-year-old girl who adapts to her violent times.

Offered a chance to become a sniper and take retribution against Serbs, half-Muslim Irena Zaric finds her place in the conflict. The novel tells of her complicated life in a dramatically changing city.

Simon, host of NPR's Weekend Edition, has covered 10 wars. He has also won every major broadcasting award, including the Peabody and the Emmy. His other books include a best-selling memoir, Home and Away, as well as a biography of baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

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