Sarajevo-born author Aleksandar Hemon won the 2020 John Dos Passos Prize for Literature—a premier literary award given annually by Longwood University.

Hemon is known for his short stories and novels that explore issues of exile, identity and home through characters drawn from his own experience with displacement. His works often deal with the Yugoslav Wars, his native Bosnia or Chicago, which became his adopted hometown when war broke out in his home country and he was granted status as a political refugee in the United States. Hemon’s best-known novels are Nowhere Man (2002) and The Lazarus Project (2008). More recently, he published My Parents: An Introduction/This Does Not Belong to You, his second work of nonfiction, in 2019. He also co-wrote the script, alongside David Mitchell and Lana Wachowski, for the upcoming The Matrix 4 movie, which is slated to be released in late 2021.

The John Dos Passos Prize for Literature is the oldest literary award given by a Virginia college or university. It honors an underappreciated writer whose work offers incisive, original commentary on American themes, experiments with form and encompasses a range of human experiences.