New Nonfiction Release from Aleksandar Hemon
The Book of My Lives, a new nonfiction collection from SCS Master of Arts in English alum ('96) and MA/MFA in creative writing faculty member Aleksandar Hemon (2005–10), was released on March 19. He has previously published critically acclaimed and award-winning works including a novel, collections of short stories and nonfiction essays.
Shortly after his 1992 arrival in Chicago from his hometown, Sarajevo, on what was supposed to be a brief trip, the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina broke out. Unable to return home, Hemon was stranded, watching as his home was consumed by the longest siege in modern history. In his own writing and in interviews, Hemon describes feeling he had lost the ability to write in his native language, a phenomenon which was partially responsible for pushing him to write his first story in English in 1995. Hemon has been called one of the great writers of our time, and has been compared to Vladimir Nabokov and Joseph Conrad in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times and The New Yorker for his ability to write stirring, intelligent prose in a second language. His work, both fiction and nonfiction, frequently features themes of childhood, memory, displacement, immigration, home and loneliness, and is often set in Sarajevo or Chicago. The Book of My Lives represents his first volume of nonfiction in a single collection. Beginning with his childhood and young adult years in Bosnia and evolving into his arrival in Chicago, the outbreak of war, and the death of his second child, his newest work highlights the extraordinary and mundane as facets of a life between two worlds in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Hemon is the author of The Lazarus Project (a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award) and three collections of short stories: The Question of Bruno; Nowhere Man (also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award); and Love and Obstacles. His essays and short stories have appeared in a wide variety of prestigious publications, including The New Yorker, Granta, Slate and the Sarajevo-based magazine BH Dani. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award, and a 2012 USA Fellowship.