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Black Butterflies


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About the Author

Priscilla Morris is the daughter of a Yugoslav mother and a Cornish father. She grew up in London, spending summers in Sarajevo, and studied at Cambridge University and the University of East Anglia, where she gained her PhD in Creative Writing. She teaches Creative Writing at University College Dublin and currently lives between Ireland and Spain. Black Butterflies is her debut novel.


'It reads like a straight telling of one woman's experience and feels totally authentic... Along with human kindness, there is a quiet emphasis on the power of art: Zora's paintings, like the existence of this book, are testimony to the way that wars come and go but art goes on forever'

* The Sunday Times *

'An intensely evocative and deeply moving debut - I held my breath as I read'

-- Ruth Gilligan, RSL Ondaatje Prize-winning author of The Butchers

'Beautifully written and hauntingly evocative, Black Butterflies distils into a single consciousness a nation's violent trauma and an artist's sense of hope. Priscilla Morris has crafted a rich and highly accomplished debut'

-- Sam Byers, author of Perfidious Albion

'In this compelling and convincing debut novel, Morris brilliantly evokes a world slipping, day by day, under the surface of the opaque waters of war. Dark and yet starkly beautiful, Black Butterflies is a narrative of how violence scars the soul of a city and its inhabitants. It is at once a testament to the victims and survivors of the Siege of Sarajevo, to the power of art and to Morris's skills as a storyteller, all the more keenly felt for the subtlety with which they are deployed'

-- Aminatta Forna, author of Happiness

'Black Butterflies is incredible, a must-read. There are few novels that stay with you after the final page is read, but this is one. Brutal yet also uplifting, immersive and real, it shows what the human spirit is capable of'

-- Karen Angelico, author of Everything We Are

'An astonishingly good debut, chronicling one of the darkest times in global history. It reads so authentically that I might assume it was a book in translation, albeit by an excellent translator. Like food and fuel in the Siege of Sarajevo, no word is wasted. Zora's story broke my heart, and I hope it will open the hearts of all those who read it to refugees, at a time when history is destined to repeat itself'

-- Liz Nugent, author of Our Little Cruelties

'Black Butterflies is an elegy to the vibrant and inclusive society... This novel comes at an apt time, not just because it marks the thirtieth anniversary of the beginning of the Siege of Sarajevo, but because it testifies to the ease and speed with which things can fall apart'

-- Kevin Sullivan, author of The Longest Winter

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