Paul Benjamin Auster (born February 3, 1947) is an American author whose writing blends absurdism, existentialism, crime fiction, and the search for identity and personal meaning in works such as The New York Trilogy (1987), Moon Palace (1989), The Music of Chance (1990), The Book of Illusions (2002), and The Brooklyn Follies (2005).
Auster was born in Newark, New Jersey, to Jewish middle class parents of Polish descent, Queenie and Samuel Auster. He grew up in South Orange, New Jersey and Newark and graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood. After graduating from Columbia University in 1970, he moved to Paris, France where he earned a living translating French literature. Since returning to the U.S. in 1974, he has published poems, essays, and novels of his own, as well as translations of French writers such as Stéphane Mallarmé and Joseph Joubert.
He and his second wife, writer Siri Hustvedt, were married in 1981, and they live in Brooklyn. Together they have one daughter, Sophie Auster. Previously, Auster was married to the writer, Lydia Davis. They have one son together, Daniel Auster.
He is also the vice-president of PEN American Center.
In 2012, Auster was quoted as saying in an interview that he wouldn't visit Turkey to protest their treatment of journalists. The Turkish Prime-Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan replied: "As if we need you! Who cares if you come or not?". "According to the latest numbers gathered by International PEN, there are nearly one hundred writers imprisoned in Turkey, not to speak of independent publishers such as Ragip Zarakolu, whose case is being closely watched by PEN Centers around the world", responded Auster.
As of November 2010, Auster has been at work on a new novel, but has said that in the past few years he has found it harder to come up with ideas: "I used to have a backlog of stories, but a few years ago I found the drawers were empty. I guess I’m getting to the point where I tell myself if I can’t write another book it’s not a tragedy. Does it matter if I publish 16 or 17 novels? Unless it’s absolutely urgent, there’s no point in writing."