American novelist, screenwriter, poet, and playwright, born in Newark, New Jersey, and educated at Columbia University. He worked as a translator, caretaker, switchboard operator, editor, and cook on an oil tanker. Auster's early one‐act plays were influenced by Pinter and Beckett. He gained critical recognition with his New York Trilogy (City of Glass, 1985; Ghosts, 1986; and The Locked Room, 1987), which uses the conventions of the detective novel to investigate urban isolation, identity, and the link between language and meaning. Further examination of the possibilities and limitations of fictional genres followed with the dystopian fable In the Country of Last Things (1987), and Moon Palace (1989), which links a picaresque plot to developments in American history. The Music of Chance (1991, filmed by Philip Haas, 1993) is an allegory of two men forced to build a wall. The Book of Illusions (2002) is a tragi‐comic account of a grief‐stricken widower's obsession with the shadowy world of a silent movie comedian. An adaptation of his own short tale, Auggie Wren's Christmas Story, published in The New York Times in 1990, began Auster's collaboration with the director Wayne Wang. In 1995 they produced two films: Smoke (script by Auster) and Blue in the Face (directed by Wang and Auster). His recent novels include Oracle Night (2003), Brooklyn Follies (2005), and Travels in the Scriptorium (2006).