Biography (Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition)
Stuart Dybek was born on April 10, 1942, in Chicago, the son of Stanley and Adeline Sala Dybek. He grew up in a working-class, ethnic neighborhood, a milieu that figures prominently in his writing. After graduating from a Catholic high school, he enrolled at Loyola University, but he interrupted his education to work in the Civil Rights and antiwar movements of the early 1960’s. He earned a B.A. from Loyola in 1964 and an M.A. in 1968. He married Caren Bassett in 1966.
After working as a case worker with the Cook County Department of Public Aid, teaching in a Chicago-area elementary school, and teaching high school on the island of St. Thomas as a VISTA volunteer, Dybek returned to school. He earned an M.F.A. degree from the prestigious University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1973. In 1974, he began teaching English and creative writing at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He served as a visiting professor at Princeton University in 1990 and began teaching in the Warren Wilson M.F.A. program for writers in 1985.
Dybek’s first book-length publication was his collection of poetry and prose poems, Brass Knuckles. His first collection of short stories, Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, published in 1980, was well received by the critics. Likewise, his second collection, The Coast of Chicago (1990), received considerable critical praise. Since the mid-1970’s, Dybek has published a steady stream...
(The entire section is 250 words.)
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Stuart Dybek was born on April 10, 1942 into a Polish family, in a Chicago neighborhood similar to the one in this story. He attended Catholic grammar and high schools and then enrolled at Loyola University, on the other side of the city where a more urbane culture prevailed. He was the first person in his family to go to college. His original major was pre-medicine, but he switched to English after a year. Still, he did not think of becoming a writer. After earning a bachelor's degree from Loyola in 1964, he was a case worker for the Cook County Department of Public Aid, a job that he pursued out of a drive to work for social justice. At the same time, he worked on his master's degree from Loyola, which he earned in 1967. He married his wife Caryn in 1966.
After earning his first master's degree, Dybek went into teaching, first at a Catholic high school in the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove and then for two years at Wayne Aspinal School in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands—a lush tropic environment that was about as far from his upbringing as he could get. In 1968 he entered the prestigious Writers' Workshop program at the University of Iowa, earning a master of fine arts degree in 1973. He then went to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where he was still teaching as of 2005.
(The entire section is 342 words.)