In books and in pictures, our literary history lives on thanks to these ink-stained artists.
When the MacArthur Foundation awarded the novelist its “genius” grant in 2004, it was really just telling us all what we already knew. The Bosnian-born writer came to Chicago in 1992 with a less-than-working knowledge of English. By 1995, he had published his first story in English, and by 2002, he’d published two books. If books could have Oscar buzz, his newest, The Lazarus Project, would, thanks to its gorgeous language and fascinating take on the immigrant experience. “Immigration is the most important fact of contemporary times,” Hemon says. “It’s a profound change, the extent of immigration these days. The world is changing, and those who do not understand that are those who are often running for office or running newspapers.”—Jonathan Messinger
Hemon’s new book of short stories will be published in 2009.