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MISS EX-YUGOSLAVIA

Sofija Stefanovic

  • Original Title: MISS EX-YUGOSLAVIA
  • Publication date: April 2018
  • Publisher: VIKING
  • Country: AU
  • 288 print pages
  • Factual/Memoirs

Information

  • Epoch: Mixed
  • Time Period: 20th century, 21st century
  • Location setting: Australia
  • Themes: FAMILY, Childhood, PEOPLE facing life, Life choice, Identity crisis, Coming of age, Looking back on one's life, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Exile, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Violence, Totalitarian regime, War and other conflicts, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Multiculturalism, Integration, CHARACTERS, Strong Female Character

Pitch

The memoir of Sofija Stefanovic, who was born into a country destined to collapse. With Yugoslavia on the brink of war, her family was torn between the socialist existence they'd always known and the pull of stability on offer in the distant land of Australia.

Comments

Shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2019 in the Multicultural NSW Award category

Sofija Stefanovic is a Serbian-Australian writer and storyteller based in New York. She hosts the popular literary salon, Women of Letters New York, and This Alien Nation - a monthly celebration of immigration. She’s a regular storyteller with The Moth, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Guardian.com, and Elle.com, among others.

Summary

Sofija Stefanovic makes the first of many awkward entrances in 1982, when she is born in Belgrade, the capital of socialist Yugoslavia. The circumstances of her birth (a blackout, gasoline shortages, bickering parents) don’t exactly get her off to a running start. While around her, ethnic tensions are stoked by totalitarian leaders with violent agendas, Stefanovic's early life is filled with Yugo rock, inadvisable crushes, and the quirky ups and downs of life in a socialist state.

Sofija's family spent her childhood moving back and forth between Australia and Yugoslavia, unable to settle in one home. The war that had been brewing started to rage, and the pain and madness it caused stretched all the way to Melbourne, where Sofija found herself part of a strange community of ex-Yugoslavians. Then, as the Yugoslav Wars moved towards their brutal conclusion, her family faced their own private and desperate battle. Suddenly the world was turned upside-down all over again.

MISS EX-YUGOSLAVIA captures the experience of being a perpetual outsider - and learning, in the end, that perhaps you prefer it that way. It is a story about not quite connecting with your old country, while not quite being embraced by your new one. Featuring war lords and their pet tigers, baby-sitters clubs and immigrant beauty queens, this memoir is a window to a complicated culture that Sofija both cherishes and resents. Revealing war and immigration from the crucial viewpoint of women and children, she chronicles her own coming-of-age, both as a woman and as an artist who yearns to take control of her own story.

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  • Author’s biography

    Sofija Stefanovic is a Serbian-Australian writer and storyteller based in New York. She hosts the popular literary salon, Women of Letters New York, and This Alien Nation - a monthly celebration of immigration. She’s a regular storyteller with The Moth, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Guardian.com, and Elle.com, among others.