Renowned Author Paul Auster, Columbia High School Alum, Passes Away at 77


Auster, who grew up in South Orange and Maplewood, received the Maplewood Literary Award in 2015

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Paul Auster, the acclaimed novelist, memoirist and screenwriter, passed away on April 30.

His best-known work is “The New York Trilogy,” three novels in one volume. His 2017 novel, “4321,” was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Auster was also celebrated for his 1982 memoir “The Invention of Solitude” and his first novel, “City of Glass,” published in 1985.

Called “one of the signature New York writers of his generation” by The New York Times, Auster grew up in South Orange and Maplewood and graduated from Columbia High School in 1965.

Read the NYT full obituary here.

In 2015, Auster was awarded the Maplewood Literary Award at the second Maplewood Ideas Festival.

Paul Auster receiving the Maplewood Literary Award in 2015 (Maplewood Library)

“When our committee of library staff met in late spring to discuss the 2015 award we unanimously chose Paul Auster, but none of us knew him, or had any connections to him,” said Maplewood Library Director Sarah Lester in a HistoryNusantara article from that year. “After procrastinating for a very long time, I finally sent a letter through his agent. Fifteen minutes later [I heard that] Paul Auster was on the phone. In our age of texting and email this was totally surreal. On the other end of the line was the Paul Auster, not the character Paul Auster or an anagram of Auster, but the amazing storyteller and man who has been called one of the greatest writers of our time. I was honestly shocked to hear him say yes.”

Paul Auster at the Maplewood Ideas Festival 2015

In an Instragram post on Wednesday, Lester wrote, “It was a true honor to ‘lure’ Auster back to Maplewood to present him with the 2015 Maplewood Literary Award. The hometown crowd basked in his greatness. We’ll open the new Main Library with his many books on our shelves.”

Auster was inducted into the CHS Hall of Fame in 2008.

He is survived by his wife, the writer Siri Hustvedt.



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