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Scott Simon: 'Pretty Birds' Amid Balkans Violence

In the early 1990s, NPR journalist Scott Simon reported from war-torn Sarajevo. Those experiences formed the basis for his debut novel, Pretty Birds, the story of a 16-year-old girl who adapts to her violent times.

Offered a chance to become a sniper and take retribution against Serbs, half-Muslim Irena Zaric finds her place in the conflict. The novel tells of her complicated life in a dramatically changing city.

Simon, host of NPR's Weekend Edition, has covered 10 wars. He has also won every major broadcasting award, including the Peabody and the Emmy. His other books include a best-selling memoir, Home and Away, as well as a biography of baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

Copyright 2022 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Combine an intelligent interviewer with a roster of guests that, according to the Chicago Tribune, would be prized by any talk-show host, and you're bound to get an interesting conversation. Fresh Air interviews, though, are in a category by themselves, distinguished by the unique approach of host and executive producer Terry Gross. "A remarkable blend of empathy and warmth, genuine curiosity and sharp intelligence," says the San Francisco Chronicle.