ABOUT Andy Evans

andy evans
Andy Evans was born in the gritty coal mining communities of Yorkshire, England.
After leaving school at the age of sixteen he followed the generations of school leavers before him to work in the local coal mines.
Following the demise of the UK’s mining industry in the mid 19 More...



From coal miner to author

West Yorkshire native re-discovers his roots in the former Yugoslavia

Born into the coal-mining industry, Andy Evans spent his childhood dreaming of another place, one not blackened by industry, but green and pure, the land his grandfather, Maksim Culumovic, had once called home.

Maksim was a ‘Displaced Person’. Originally from the former Yugoslavia, he had left his country of birth during the bitter fighting of World War II, where, in 1941, he had survived a brutal attack on his village that had left his neighbours, friends and the majority of his family ruthlessly slaughtered. The once peaceful community he had fought so hard to protect was destroyed in one single despicable act.

Following the horror of that day, he had left what remained of his family, including his older brother, Ostoja, his friends and everything he had ever known and after time spent in resettlement camps in Germany and Italy, Featherstone became his new home.

Like most of West Yorkshire, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Halifax had become home to ‘alien’ communities, encouraged over by a western power that had suffered heavy casualties in the war and needed a new workforce to run the heavy industry at home.

For the next 40 years, Maksim worked hard and built himself a new life, far away from the one he had started with. The shadow of his past hung over him, but he remained silent on the subject.

When he died in 1988 aged 79, it was his grandson, Andy, who set out to find the past, so well hidden to both family and friends that it would take a twenty-year search to uncover the truth.

Displaced is a joint work between Andy, and his Bosnian cousin Vesna Kovac, granddaughter of Ostoja, bought together finally to show both sides of this emotional story. The hardships of the coalmine and a heartbroken grandchild are bought into sharp contrast with a young woman’s trials in a post-Yugoslav civil war that would once again scar the landscape of what is now Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia.

Their stories combine to create an enthralling text and finally answer the question that Andy, now 45, has spent the last twenty years trying to discover.
Who was Maksim?

Bosnia is the back drop to this fascinating insight into a twenty year search to uncover the true identity of a man displaced from his country and loved ones. Genealogy today is big business. Websites now offer their services to uncover the truth about our heritage. Lost royal bloodlines can be uncovered at the click of the mouse. Family tragedies of old can be revisited once more, memories cherished at last forever. Imagine however if no records of our existence remained. DISPLACED tells of such a search of no recordable beginning. The story strives to uncover the shrouded blanket, kept in secret for over sixty years, of my own grandfather's life before his appearance in England in 1947. Yugoslavia's bloody and violent times of her past are revisited within my own travels of modern day quest of understanding. Show More Show Less

Hi Andy, Your writing is that of a seasoned writer...so descriptive and full of warmth. You bring the reader right along with you in your journey. I'm only on chapter 4 but took a trip down memory lane with you in Chapt 1 even though we live in two different countries... your memories of your grandfather growing & hanging his tobacco out to dry in his wooden huts made me think of my grandfather in Kentucky, growing & hanging his tobacco to dry in his barn.

I was so glad in Chapt 2 he identified himself to you in his military picture.

The horrors of war are so hard to comprehend and understand and yet it is uplifting and amazing to hear your grandfather was still able to show such tremendous love. The two of you shared a special bond.

I am struck with the realization that you were meant from a young age to write this story. It's your grandfather's story but so beautifully told that I think many others will enjoy reading this heart felt story, especially those who also have lost their ancestral homeland. Although, I've never done any research in Yugoslavia, I know first hand how difficult and many times impossible it is to find records in those war torn countries.

I plan to keep reading and am putting your book in my watchlist.
Thanks for sharing this amazing story!