Steve (Stoyan) Tesich was born September 29, 1942, in Titovo Uice, Yugoslavia, where he learned the art of storytelling from his mother, Gospava (Bulaich) Tesich. His favorite boyhood theme was going to the United States to find his father, Radisa, who was missing in the war. Eventually, Radisa contacted his family from England, where he turned up after fleeing Yugoslavia to join its government in exile. The Tesich family was finally reunited in 1957, but in the United States, because Stoyan had led a family revolution against going to England: He wanted to go to the land “where anything could happen.” Therefore, at age fourteen, Stoyan became Steve, living in East Chicago, Indiana, where his machinist father found work in the steel mills. Although the unrelenting red glow of the smokestacks was not the great American West that he had learned to love in motion pictures, he optimistically believed that he had found the “frontier of possibility.” Tesich quickly learned English and was assimilated into the high school culture of the late 1950’s. He won a wrestling scholarship to Indiana University, where he made Phi Beta Kappa, won the Little Five Hundred bicycle race, and was graduated in 1965. Tesich has often used his Indiana years as the background for his stories.
After Columbia University awarded Tesich a graduate scholarship, he moved to New York City to study Russian literature, with the notion that he might become an academic. As he began to understand the characters in Russian novels, however, he began to get excited about the idea of becoming a writer, and he augmented...
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