Skip to main content


Panel Discussion with Aleksandar Hemon, Stuart Dybek, and Elizabeth Crane

Craft and the Imagination: Panel discussion with Aleksandar Hemon, Stuart Dybek, and Elizabeth Crane.

MacArthur "geniuses" and Guggenheim fellows Aleksandar Hemon and Stuart Dybek teamed up with the University of Chicago's fiction instructor Elizabeth Crane to teach a Master Seminar in fiction. Listen as they discuss the process of collaborative teaching, as well as the relationship between the craft of writing and the imaginative forces behind generating work.

Aleksandar Hemon (1964) was born in Sarajevo, arrived in Chicago in 1992, began writing in English in 1995, and now his work appears regularly in The New Yorker, Granta, Esquire, Best American Short Stories, and Paris Review. His first collection of stories, The Question of Bruno (Talese/Doubleday, 2000) won the Ploughshares 2001 John C. Zacharis First Book Award, appeared on Best Books of 2000 lists nationwide, and has been published in eighteen countries. Hemon's writing in his debut novel, Nowhere Man (Talese/Doubleday, 2002), has been compared to Nabokov's. Nowhere Man was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His 2008 novel, The Lazarus Project, unites the narratives about the 1908 death of an East European Jewish immigrant Lazarus Averbuch in Chicago, and about the Bosnian immigrant writer Vladimir Brik (Hemon's alterego) as he researches Lazarus's story. The Lazarus Project was a National Book Award finalist. Hemon has received numerous awards, nominations and prizes, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation in 2004.

Stuart Dybek is the author of three books of fiction: I Sailed With Magellan, The Coast of Chicago, and Childhood and Other Neighborhoods. Both I Sailed With Magellan and The Coast of Chicago were New York Times Notable Books, and The Coast of Chicago was a One Book One Chicago selection. Dybek has also published two collections of poetry: Streets in Their Own Ink and Brass Knuckles.  His fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, The Atlantic, Poetry, Tin HouseGranta, and many other magazines, and have been widely anthologized, including work in both Best American Fiction and Best American Poetry.  Among Dybek's numerous awards are a MacArthur Prize, the Rea Award "for significant contribution to the short story form," PEN/Malamud Prize "for distinguished achievement in the short story," a Lannan Award, a Whiting Writers Award, an Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, several O.Henry Prizes, and fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation.  He is Distinguished Writer in Residence at Northwestern University and  a member of the permanent faculty for Western Michigan University's Prague Summer Program.

Elizabeth Crane is the author of two collections of short stories from Little, Brown, When the Messenger is Hot and All this Heavenly Glory, and, most recently, one from Punk Planet titled You Must Be This Happy to Enter. Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Other Voices, Nerve, Sycamore Review, Mississippi Review, Florida Review, Bridge, Sonora Review, the Chicago Reader and The Believer, and anthologies including McSweeney's Future Dictionary of America, Altared, Loser, The Show I'll Never Forget, and the Best Underground Fiction. She is also a regular contributor to Writer's Block Party on WBEZ Chicago and her stories have been featured on WBEZ's Stories on Stage and NPR's Selected Shorts. She received the Chicago Public Library 21st Century Award in 2003. In 2007, Steppenwolf presented a theatrical adaptation of When the Messenger is Hot, which will be seen in New York in October.  A short film based on her story "Stealer" was released in fall 2007.


Recorded Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at University of Chicago-Classics 110.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.