In 1992, Aleksandar Hemon traveled to Chicago on a journalistic exchange — and, when his native Bosnia was engulfed by war, found himself stranded. He wrote his first short story in English in 1995. Since then, the literary accolades have flowed, including a 2003 Guggenheim Foundation grant, a 2004 “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, two PEN awards, and two National Magazine Awards. His first novel, The Lazarus Project (2008), was a finalist for both a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award.
Last fall, Hemon joined the Program in Creative Writing as a professor. His latest work is two conjoined memoirs: My Parents: An Introduction and This Does Not Belong to You (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The family memoir came first. But as he revisited his childhood, Hemon says, “a lot of strange, interesting and baffling memories popped up,” and he assembled those “fragments and reflections” into This Does Not Belong to You.