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In the last year of the Bosnian war, David Savill lived as a teacher and a student among the refugees of Srebrenica, helping to organise a summer university for students in the safe-haven of Tuzla. Over the past fifteen years he has returned to Bosnia several times. Tuzla, and the real story of its 'Youth Day' massacre, became the inspiration for the fictional town of Stovnik. In an eight-year career as a BBC Current Affairs journalist, David worked on Panorama, This World, Real Story, World at One and PM. In 2004, he arrived on the beaches of Phuket two days after the Indian Ocean Tsunami. He spent the next six months in Thailand and Sri Lanka, where he made two documentaries about the aftermath of the disaster. David now has two children and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Salford in Manchester.
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2017. A fascinating heart-breaking debut novel full of attitude and aching tension. Set over a decade and more, we see events unfold in the Bosnian war, and separately watch the relationship between two people ebb and flow before events converge in one unforgettable moment. At the end of the second chapter, a shiver of chills and understanding sliced through me as I began to see a vivid, striking picture emerge. David Savill writes with true compassion and unflinching honesty, his knowledge of two major events, from very different parts of the world, creates a sincere and provocative tale. Zigzagging around in time, between the three main characters, left me feeling unsettled, and a sense of foreboding hovered over the pages. ‘They Are Trying to Break Your Heart’ connects to the intimate, the personal, creating hushed stillness and reflection in a tumultuous world, what a truly captivating novel this is. ~ Liz Robinson
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2017 'Moving, tender, thrilling, important. It will stay with me for a very long time' Megan Bradbury, author of Everyone is Watching DISASTER WILL BRING THEIR LIVES TOGETHER In 1994, Marko Novak's world is torn apart by the death of his best friend, a young soldier in the Bosnian war. In 2004, human rights researcher Anya Teal is following a tenuous lead in the hunt for a man with blood on his hands. When Anya invites her first love Will to join her on holiday in a Thai beach resort, she hopes they might unpick the mistakes of their past. She also knows that Kao Lak may be home to the man she is looking for. But a disaster as destructive as a war is approaching. In its wake, everything they knew will be overturned.