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Zlata Filipovic, the Anne Frank of Sarajevo, co-authors "Stolen Voices"

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Until 1992, Zlata Filipovic lived a carefree life in her native Sarajevo. She attended school, enjoyed her holidays, and, like many other 11-year-olds, kept a diary. When war suddenly entered her life, her diary was transformed into the testament of a child exposed to the possibility of violent death. Zlata's Diary was published in 1993 and became an international best-seller. It has been translated into 36 languages.

Filipovic, who is now 26, graduated from Oxford in 2001 and today lives in Dublin.

Stolen Voices

Most recently, she has teamed up with award-winning British writer Melanie Challenger to compile another book, titled "Stolen Voices." The volume excerpts from young people's wartime diaries, from World War I to Iraq.

Filipovic, who has been called "the Anne Frank of Sarajevo," says "Zlata's Diary" is about getting on with one's life in the face of adversity.

"It ranges from anything such as details of life, of how you survive, of how you improvise life, of how you get water, and how you deal with a lack of electricity or with this immense sense of insecurity and death all around you," she told RFE/RL in Washington.

Filipovic said her diary helped to keep her sane, that it provided relief by letting her distance herself from a horrific situation. She said she felt the need to tell her story -- even if just to herself. 

Not Alone

Writing also kept her occupied and gave her a sense of intimacy. It made her feel that someone was listening and understood her plight.

"I had this need to sit down and to sort of curl up or to go to a colder room that we weren't heating because there was no electricity and sit down at my desk and write things," Filipovic said.

Filipovic says she hopes her new book will make people realize that anyone can get caught up in a war -- "people with hopes, desires, and problems, wherever and whenever they live."

Hoda Thamir Jehad of Iraq was 18 at the time of the U.S.-led invasion of her country in March 2003. She began keeping a diary shortly after the fighting began. She said she put words to paper in the hope "that it would help me breathe." 

In one of her poems, she wrote:

Inaudible whispers...
Failed government...
And a worse life,
And the hours pass by,
And an agonizing hunger,
Children suffering...

But there is a voice in the distance
That starts to spread.
It is the voice of Truth,
Though not of fulfillment.

One reviewer said "Stolen Voices" creates a "gripping historical narrative whereby war stories are told not through facts and dates but through the honest impressions of youth."

Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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By Anne Frank on March 25,2009

 I can relate this book to my own diary. It really relates to me but fortunately, she doesn't have the same ending as me. :) Thank you for writing this diary. You truly ARE the Anne Frank in Sarajevo.

By Alaina on March 6,2009

hey zlata i am a gms student and i was wondering were i could get a copy of your book gms student Alaina it was enteresting reding about your trip to paris

Years between October 1993 and present?
By Margie Smith on February 4,2009

 How do we find out about Zlata's life after the diary? Some of my students and have read her diary and wondered how was she able to leave Sarajevo? Was she able to keep in contact with her friends? Did she ever return? What happened and where is her family now? I teach 7th and 8th grade English. Thank you.

By kevin on November 10,2008

zlatas diary was so awsome

We would like to write to Zlata
By charlotte harris on November 6,2008

My students have read an exerpt from Zlata's diary and are writng letters to her.  Who can we send these to so that she will recieve them?  Thank you, Charlotte Harris

Does Zlata F. have an email?
By Clay Jeppsen on October 11,2008

Does Zlata Filipovic have an email? I wrote a book on ethnic genocide and I would like to get her input on it.

-Clay Jeppsen

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