“Aleksandar Hemon was born in 1964 in Sarajevo to parents of Ukrainian and Bosnian Serb descent. Apart from a brief, mandatory stint in the Yugoslav army, he spent his childhood and youth in that city. At the University of Sarajevo he studied literature and played in a band. Later he worked as an arts journalist and film critic, and he published two short stories in little magazines. Hemon was granted a cultural visa to the United States in 1992, and he traveled across the country as part of a cultural exchange program. He was supposed to go home May 1; that day the Yugoslav army began shelling Sarajevo. Hemon, who spoke only rudimentary English, received asylum from the US government and settled in Chicago, where he supported himself with a series of menial jobs: dishwasher, house-cleaner, sandwich-maker, Greenpeace canvasser. By night he watched CNN and read American novels with the help of a dictionary.
Hemon was twenty-eight at the time. By the age of thirty-one he had begun to publish stories in his adoptive language.”
Source: Lorin Stein’s review of Hemon’s novel “Nowhere Book”, New York Review of Books May 15/2003.
“The Question of Bruno” (Doubleday, 2000), a collection of short stories.
“Nowhere Man” (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2003), a novel.