Episode 110 - Kevin Sullivan: Part 3


'It was the loudest explosion I’ve ever heard.' Kevin Sullivan begins part three of his conversation with This Writing Life podcast by remembering the landmine explosion that almost killed him while he was reporting in Gornji Vakuf, in the early days of the Bosnian war.

Having described his dramatic rescue, Sullivan recalls the revelation that occurred as he lay in a nearby basement with two broken legs: 'I was very conscious then that however dramatic this experience is for me these [Bosnian] people lying on the same concrete floor are not going to get taken away and given morphine and the latest medical treatment.'

From here we discussed:

  • how did Sullivan adapt to working in a warzone?
  • the teror and strange beauty of conflict
  • 'They were desperate for the war to stop': how did the Bosnian war and siege of Sarajevo change the people?
  • Sullivan and PTSD?
  • Sullivan the war correspondent
  • did writing his novel The Longest Winter help Sullivan make sense of the Bosnian war?
  • what experiences can fiction describe that reporting cannot?
  • 'I hope their mothers find them in a pie'

Part 4 to follow.

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