Army service was followed by a degree in English at the University of Sarajevo. Hemon read Nabokov's Lolita in translation (he still remembers the shelf on which the book sat in the library), then worked as a journalist for the Sarajevan youth press. In the winter of 1992, an organisation called the American Cultural Centre brought him to the US on a programme for young journalists. He was 28; the trip was to last a month or so, with a visit to a friend tagged on afterwards. The war began in April. He was supposed to fly back from Chicago on May 1; the siege of Sarajevo started on May 2. "I didn't go back," Hemon says.
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