‘I had just graduated from Belgrade University when I fell in love with an Englishman. I had a scholarship to study in France, but I followed him to London.
'I read Olivia Manning’s The Balkan Trilogy (Arrow, £18.99) when reading books in English was still a bit of a struggle, and writing them was not even a dream. I empathised with the story of a newlywed woman in a strange city. Manning described Bucharest in the 1940s so vividly that I had to go there.
'And go there I did, a few days after the revolution in 1989. There was still the sound of gunfire at night and very few tourists. I re-read the book recently, and it was like meeting a long-lost friend who remembers your younger, braver self.’
Vesna Goldsworthy’s first novel Gorsky (Chatto & Windus, £12.99) is published on 9 April