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Paul Aster

Paul Aster

Paul Auster was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1947. He graduated from Columbia College in 1969, and then continued to study at Columbia for another year, where he received an M.A. in Comparative literature. He spent several months aboard ship as a merchant marine before he moved to Paris in 1971. There he wrote poems and worked at odd jobs to pay the bills. He stayed in France until 1974, spending his final year in the country as a caretaker of a house in the Var.

His first prose work was the memoir, The Invention of Solitude, published in 1982. Auster then embarked on writing the three novels which comprise The New York Trilogy: City of Glass, Ghosts and The Locked Room. These novels brought him international recognition as a startlingly original writer. Since the Trilogy, he has published five novels--In the Country of Last Things, Moon Palace, The Music of Chance (which was nominated for a Pen-Faulkner Award), Leviathan and Mr.Vertigo. His most recent book is Hand to Mouth, an autobiographical essay about his early days as a writer. Paul Auster's work has been translated into twenty-five languages, and he is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and The Prix Medicis Etranger (for the best novel by a foreign author) in France, as well as the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Paul Auster has always loved movies and remains an avid student of film. In 1992 Philip Haas adapted the novel The Music of Chance for the screen and consulted Auster as he wrote the script. After reading Auggie Wren's Christmas Story which Auster was commissioned to write for The New York Times, director Wayne Wang approached the writer about turning his story into a film. Auster was happy to give the rights to Wang, but reluctant to write the screenplay. After much discussion, however, Wang lured Auster into the project that became Smoke, a film which starred Harvey Keitel and William Hurt. Smoke was a genuine collaboration between Wang and Auster. Auster wrote the movie, Wang directed, but all other aspects of the production were shared and Auster was given credit as co-filmmaker. Auster and Wang then went on to co-direct Blue in the Face, a spontaneous spin-off of Smoke, which was filmed in six days without a script. Auster invented situations, which the actors then used to improvise the scenes. Harvey Keitel returned as Auggie in the mad romp of vignettes and documentary footage that make up Blue in the Face.

Lulu on the Bridge marks Paul Auster's solo debut as a director and his third collaboration with Harvey Keitel. He directed the film from his original screenplay. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, the novelist Siri Hustvedt, and his two children.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2000.

Paul Aster Facts

OccupationDirector, Screenwriter
BirthplaceNewark, New Jersey, USA

Selected Filmography

Smoke
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