PEN International mourns the death of Paul Auster

“Paul Auster’s contributions to literature have left an indelible mark on the literary world, inspiring generations of writers to push the boundaries of storytelling. His legacy will continue to resonate for years to come, reminding us of the transformative power of literature to capture the complexity of the human condition. Paul Auster was our honoured guest at the PEN International’s Congress in Lviv, Ukraine, 2017. His absence leaves a void in the hearts of his PEN colleagues and the entire literary community, a testament to the profound influence he wielded.” Burhan Sonmez, PEN International President

01 May 2024: Paul Auster, the renowned author celebrated for his boundary-pushing postmodernist fiction, has passed away on April 30 at the age of 77. His death marks the end of an era for literature, leaving behind a legacy that shaped the landscape of postmodernist fiction.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1947, Auster’s literary journey began at a young age, when he missed an opportunity to get an autograph from baseball star Willie Mays, due to the absence of a pencil. This pivotal moment spurred him to carry a pencil everywhere, symbolizing his commitment to the craft of writing.

Throughout his prolific career, Auster’s works delved into themes of coincidence, chance, and fate, often featuring unreliable narrators and self-referential storytelling. His breakthrough came with the publication of “City of Glass,” the first instalment in his iconic New York Trilogy, which challenged conventional notion of identity. Other notable works include: Moon Palace, Invisible, Sunset Park, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions, The Music of Chance,  Winter Journal, and 4 3 2 1.

In addition to his literary achievements, Auster’s influence extended to the realm of cinema, where he wrote the screen play for “Smoke” and directed “Lulu on the Bridge,” further solidifying his reputation as a multifaceted creative force.

Throughout his life, Auster remained dedicated to his craft, writing six hours a day, often seven days a week, and producing a remarkable body of work that spanned 34 books. His dedication to storytelling transcended traditional boundaries, as he seamlessly transitioned between novels, memoirs, plays, and screenplays, leaving an indelible mark on each form.

His legacy will endure as a testament to the power of storytelling to illuminate the human experience and challenge the boundaries of imagination.