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|Born||September 9, 1964|
Sarajevo, SFR Yugoslavia
|Occupation||Short story writer, novelist and columnist|
|Alma mater||University of Sarajevo, Northwestern University|
|Notable works||The Lazarus Project (2008)|
Hemon was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, then Yugoslavia, to a father of partial Ukrainian descent and a Bosnian Serb mother. Hemon's great-grandfather, Teodor Hemon, came to Bosnia from Western Ukraine prior to World War I, when both countries were a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Since 1992 he has lived in the United States, where he found himself as a tourist and became stranded at the outbreak of the war in Bosnia. In the U.S. he worked as a Greenpeace canvasser, sandwich assembly-line worker, bike messenger, graduate student in English literature, bookstore salesperson, and ESL teacher.
He is the winner of a MacArthur Foundation grant.
He published his first story in English, "The Life and Work of Alphonse Kauders" in Triquarterly in 1995, followed by "The Sorge Spy Ring," also in Triquarterly in 1996 and "Islands" in Ploughshares in 1998, and eventually "Blind Jozef Pronek" in The New Yorker in 1999. His work also eventually appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. Hemon also has a bi-weekly column, written and published in Bosnian, called "Hemonwood" in the Sarajevo-based magazine, BH Dani (BH Days).
Hemon is currently a professor of creative writing at Princeton University, where he lives with his second wife, Teri Boyd, and their daughters Ella and Esther. The couple's second child, 1-year-old daughter Isabel, died of complications associated with a brain tumor in November 2010. Hemon published an essay, "The Aquarium," about Isabel's death in the June 13/20, 2011 issue of The New Yorker.
In 2000 Hemon published his first book, The Question of Bruno, which included short stories and a novella, to overwhelmingly positive reviews.
His second book, Nowhere Man, followed in 2002. Variously referred to as a novel and as a collection of linked stories, Nowhere Man concerns Jozef Pronek, a character who earlier appeared in one of the stories in The Question of Bruno. It was a finalist for the 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award.
On 1 May 2008, Hemon released The Lazarus Project, inspired by the story of Lazarus Averbuch, which featured photographs by Hemon's childhood friend, photographer Velibor Božović. The novel was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award, and was named as a "New York Times Notable Book" and New York magazine's No. 1 Book of the Year.
In May 2009, Hemon released a collection of stories, Love and Obstacles, which were largely written at the same time as he wrote The Lazarus Project.
Hemon's first nonfiction book The Book of My Lives was released in 2013.
Hemon's novel The Making of Zombie Wars was released in 2015.
As an accomplished fiction writer who learned English as an adult, Hemon has some similarities to Joseph Conrad, which he acknowledges through allusion in The Question of Bruno, though he is most frequently compared to Vladimir Nabokov. All of his stories deal in some way with the Yugoslav wars, Bosnia, or Chicago, but they vary substantially in genre.