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CoastLine: Dina Greenberg on why telling stories of trauma heals and how Bosnian War victims led her to write her first novel

Dina Greenberg
Dina Greenberg
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Dina Greenberg's first novel, Nermina's Chance, was published by Atmosphere Press in October 2021.

Dina Greenberg collects the stories of trauma survivors — particularly those of Holocaust victims and their descendants and Bosnian War survivors. She studies intergenerational trauma and the healing power of storytelling, and out of that work has come her first novel, Nermina's Chance.

Nermina Beganovic lost her mother, father, and brother during the Bosnian War in the 1990s. She was beaten and gang-raped by Serbian soldiers. And she survived.

She made her way to the United States, landed in Portland, Oregon, had a child whom she raised as a single mother, and became an advanced-practice nurse practitioner.

She still feels the trauma from the war. She still battles ghosts. And she works with people who are facing the ghosts of their past trauma – people whose pasts are very much alive in the present.

Nermina Beganovic is a fictional character. But she’s based on the actual experiences of Bosnian women and girls who survived that war.

Nermina's Chance book cover

Nermina’s Chance is the first novel from writer Dina Greenberg, who says the story took her more than a decade to write. During that period, Dina Greenberg earned her MFA in fiction from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she also served as managing editor for the literary journal Chautauqua. Her short stories have appeared in multiple literary journals, including Pembroke Magazine, Split Rock Review, Thrice Fiction, Bellevue Literary Review, and Barely South.

She now teaches creative writing courses at the Cameron Art Museum and collects the stories of intergenerational trauma survivors.

Resources:  

Most Mira: https://www.mostmiraproject.org/

Cameron Art Museum classes:

http://learn.cameronartmuseum.org/museumschool_online/adult.php

Independent bookstores:

https://dinagreenberg.com/bookshop-org

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Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.