Weissman School of Arts and Sciences

photo of Paul AusterPAUL AUSTER

Harman Writer-In-Residence, Spring 2002

photo by Sigrid Estrada

Paul Auster, the prominent writer, is the Spring 2002 Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence at Baruch. Mr. Auster is the author of Timbuktu (1999), Leviathan (1992), The Music of Chance (1990), Moon Palace (1989), In the Country of Last Things (1987), and the three novels known as “The New York Trilogy”: City of Glass (1986), Ghosts (1986), and The Locked Room (1987). He has also written two memoirs, The Invention of Solitude (1982) and Hand to Mouth (1997), and a book of critical essays, The Art of Hunger (1992). Disappearances: Selected Poems (1988) offers a large sampling from the various books of poetry he published in the 1970s. He also wrote the screenplay for the movie Smoke (1995), was co-director (with Wayne Wang) of Blue in the Face (1995), and wrote and directed the film Lulu on the Bridge (1998). He edited The Random House Book of Twentieth Century French Poetry (1982) and produced numerous translations of French writers and poets, including Jacques Dupin, André du Bouchet, Joseph Joubert, Stéphane Mallarmé, Phillippe Petit, Maurice Blanchot, and Pierre Clastres. In 1996, some of this work was published in a collection entitled Translations. Most recently, Mr. Auster edited I Thought My Father was God and Other True Tales from NPR's National Story Project.

Mr. Auster has received the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1990), the Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay (1996), and the Prix Médicis for the best foreign novel published in France (1992). His work has been translated into 27 languages. (December 2001)

“For one whole year he did nothing but drive, traveling back and forth across America as he waited for the money to run out. He hadn't expected it to go on that long, but one thing kept leading to another, and by the time Nashe understood what was happening to him, he was past the point of wanting it to end. Three days into the thirteenth month, he met up with the kid who called himself Jackpot. It was one of those random, accidental encounters that seem to materialize out of thin air-a twig that breaks off in the wind and suddenly lands at your feet. Had it occurred at any other moment, it is doubtful that Nashe would have opened his mouth. But because he had already given up, he figured there was nothing to lose anymore, he saw the stranger as a reprieve, as a last chance to do something for himself before it was too late. And just like that, he went ahead and did it. Without the slightest tremor of fear, Nashe closed his eyes and jumped.”

-From The Music of Chance

Biographical Update
Paul Auster has been the subject of many books, including the 2002 volume Paul Auster and Postmodern Quest: On the Road to Nowhere. His own publications, now translated into thirty-five languages, comprise The Book of Illusions (2002); The Story of My Typewriter, with paintings by Sam Messer (2002); Oracle Night (2004);  Auggie Wren's Christmas Story, coauthored with Isol (2004); The Brooklyn Follies (2005); Collected Prose: Autobiographical Writings, True Stories, Critical Essays, Prefaces, and Collaborations with Artists (2005); a translation of The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert (2005); Travels in the Scriptorium (2007);  Man in the Dark (2008); and Invisible (2009). 

He also wrote the screenplays for the 2004 films Fluxus, from Hungary, and Le Carnet Rouge, from France. In 2007, he wrote and directed The Inner Life of Martin Frost. His novel The Country of Last Things was adapted to film by Argentinean director Alejandro Chomski in 2009.

In 2006, Mr. Auster received the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature.  (June 2009)

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