Interview with Nadija Mujagic, Author of Immigrated | NewInBooks
If you were in an elevator with a stranger and had one minute or less to describe Immigrated before the doors opened, what description would you give?
Immigrated is about coping with post-war trauma while experiencing the culture shock in the new country and ultimately finding the best path to healing.
What part of Immigrated was the hardest to write? What part was the easiest?
The hardest part was writing about my parents, particularly my mother, never finding peace with all the things that happened to us as a family during and after the Bosnian War. I was a young teenager when the war broke out, and somewhat clueless about what it all meant. I better understand now the toll the war took on all of our parents to attempt to care for their children during the most trying times in life with danger constantly lurking around the corner. I say attempt here, because the war threw a lot of challenges to lead a normal life, as I described in my first memoir, Ten Thousand Shells and Counting.
The easiest part to write was the Afterword, which is the euphoric climax of my story.
What books are on your to-be-read pile right now?
Right now, I am reading a book by Toni Morrison and a more scientific book on butterflies. I have an eclectic taste for books and will read anything to inspire me for my own writing.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
My favorite genre is non-fiction, whether it be a memoir or other non-fiction (such as one on butterflies!) My next favorite is literary fiction.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? Where did you write Immigrated?
I don’t have any particularly quirky writing habits, but I do need complete silence to concentrate on my writing. I wrote Immigrated at home, and it took less than two months to write it, unlike my first book that took more than twenty years. I was about four months pregnant when I began writing Immigrated. I found writing and editing the most wonderful distraction during the COVID pandemic; it was a good way to beat melancholy and boredom.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I have received (on writing, at least!) was given by Shel Silverstein when I met him in Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 1998. It’s mentioned in my book!
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading Immigrated what would it be?
That there is hope and a path to a better future no matter the amount of hardship and pain a person suffers in life.