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Nadija Mujagic
Ten Thousand Shells and Counting: A Memoir
This riveting and true story about war and survival takes us to the siege in Sarajevo in the 1990s, where a young woman quickly learns how to adapt to the inhumane war circumstances. Despite her intentions to live normally in the besieged city, her life in war is often interrupted by many of the surprising obstacles she faces on a daily basis. She matures beyond her age in a matter of months and carries on as best as possible until she realizes that loss upon loss will have a strong impact and change her life forever.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.50 out of 10


Idea: Mujagic offers a rich and detailed account of her experiences during the war in the former Yugoslavia. The author provides a graceful and insightful blend of memories, impressions, and the impacts of trauma, with clear explanations relating to the complex circumstances of the war and its conflicts.

Prose: Mujagic’s prose is descriptive, polished, and features well-integrated historical and political details without ever becoming dry.

Originality: Memoirs relating to experiences during war are familiar, but few focus on the conflicts impacting Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, and few with such a wealth of engaging detail.

Character/Execution: The author excels at personalizing the experience of one's home being under siege through vivid, in-scene descriptions, while also clearly conveying the particular circumstances of the Bosnian war. Mujagic’s framing of her story through the lens of PTSD, allows for greater resonance and relatability.

Date Submitted: October 02, 2020