Salt Lake City 2014

Bosnian-American Professionals Celebrate Bosnian Writers

Author Kenan Trebincevic signing books at the City Public Library

Author Kenan Trebincevic signing books at the City Public Library

On the first weekend of October, the Bosnian-American community of Utah met to enjoy some great writing and fundraise for a great cause.  The weekend of events was organized by the Bosnian-American Professionals Association (BAPA) – a non-profit focused on providing networking opportunities for fellow Bosnian Americans and fostering continued professional growth in the community.

For their first annual forum, BAPA featured Bosnian American authors who shared their unique background and expertise with the Salt Lake City community. The weekend commenced with a fundraising reception where Bosnian-American professionals mingled and socialized with featured authors.  The fundraiser benefited Bosana Foundation, a 501 c(3) which offers scholarships and professional development to college students in Bosnia & Herzegovina. “This is in line with our strategy to strengthen the connection to Bosnia & Herzegovina,” said Kanita Lipjankic, BAPA founder and president, of the $1000 raised for Bosana.

Bosnian author panel led by Fatima Mujcinovic

Bosnian author panel led by Fatima Mujcinovic

On the evening of Friday, October 3, the event’s keynote speaker Kenan Trebincevic, author of The Bosnia List, discussed his poignant memoir about his childhood in Brcko at the breakout of the Bosnian war. The City Public Library sponsored presentation was followed by a Q&A session and a book signing.  “A huge thanks to Salt Lake City for hosting us, especially to the Bosnian community that attended the events,” said Trebincevic.

On Saturday, October 4, Trebincevic was joined by three additional Bosnian writers for a panel discussion focused on immigrant and identity issues of Bosnian-Americans especially in relation to writing, literature, and language.  The event was sponsored by the Utah Humanities Book Festival and featured: Ajla Terzic, author of Lutrija and Mogla Je Biti Prosta Prica; Jasmina Dervisevic-Cesis, author of The River Runs Salt, Runs Sweet; and Elvis Hadzic, author of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Zec.”

Bosnian authors and BAPA board members  & supporters

Bosnian authors and BAPA board members & supporters

The literary events were followed by a strategic planning meeting for BAPA board members.  In 2015, BAPA plans to continue reaching out to the Bosnian-American community and collaborating with other organizations on creating networking opportunities for Bosnian-American professionals.

Reflecting on the weekend of networking and collaboration, Dervisevic-Cesic said: “Huge congratulations to BAPA for a job well done. Your hard work, dedication, and kindness brought my inspiration to the next level. Also, thank you very much for the invite, hospitality, and most of all for bringing me together with my fellow authors, Ajla, Kenan, and Elvis whose company I enjoyed just as much.”