Josip Novakovich

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Josip Novakovich (Croatian: Novaković) is a Croatian Canadian writer.

Josip's great grandparents immigrated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Cleveland, Ohio at a time when the smog was so thick one couldn't see the sun at high noon. His family was poor; old-timers from their Slavic neighborhood in Cleveland can remember seeing Mary, his great grandmother, carrying her babies in the streets, her feet bare in midwinter. At the end of the First World War, his grandfather, having met and married a wife of Slovenian descent, immigrated back to the old country, to a new Slavic nation formed in the aftermath of the war, Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, during the hardships of the Second World War, his grandparents split, one becoming an atheist, preaching against all wars, and the other, his grandmother, becoming a communist nurse. At war's end, she returned to Cleveland alone. Josip's mother, Ruth, who was born in Cleveland, was married at the time and remained in Yugoslavia. Josip Novakovich was born in Yugoslavia (in 1956) and grew up in the central Croatian town of Daruvar near the Hungarian border under the authoritarian rule of Tito. (In 1991, this territory became a part of the independent Croatian Republic.) Novakovich studied medicine at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia. In spite of or to spite his good results at the university, at the age of 20 Josip moved to the USA,[1] continuing his education at Vassar College (B.A.), Yale University (M.Div.), and the University of Texas, Austin (M.A.).

He has published a novel (April Fool's Day), three short story collections (Yolk, Salvation and Other Disasters, Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust), four collections of narrative essays (Apricots from Chernobyl, Plum Brandy: Croatian Journey, Three Deaths, and Shopping for a New Country); and two textbooks (Writing Fiction Step by Step, Fiction Writer's Workshop) and hundreds of short stories and essays.

Novakovich is the recipient of the Whiting Writer's Award,[2] a Guggenheim fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, panelist of National Endowment of the Arts, an award from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Novakovich was a finalist for the The Man Booker International Prize in 2013.[3] He was anthologized in Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prize (three times),[4] and O.Henry Prize Stories.[5] Kirkus Reviews called Novakovich "the best American short stories writer of the decade".

His works are published in the top literary magazines in the United States (Ploughshares, The New York Times Magazine, Double Take, The Threepenny Review etc.)

Novakovich has taught at Nebraska Indian Community College, Bard College, Moorhead State University, Antioch University Los Angeles, creative writing at the University of Cincinnati, and Pennsylvania State University. He is currently in Montreal, Quebec teaching at Concordia University, where his son Joseph studies cello performance and abstract mathematics at McGill University and his daughter Eva studies at the arts high school FACE.

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