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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for A Life in Words
Book cover for A Life in Words

An inside look into Paul Auster's art and craft, the inspirations and obsessions, mesmerizing and dramatic in turn.

A remarkably candid, and often surprisingly dramatic, investigation into one writer's art, craft, and life, A Life in Words is rooted in three years of dialogue between Auster and Professor I. B. Siegumfeldt, starting in 2011, while Siegumfeldt was in the process of launching the Center for Paul Auster Studies at the University of Copenhagen. It includes a number of surprising disclosures, both concerning Auster's work and about the art of writing generally. It is a book that's full of surprises, unscripted yet amounting to a sharply focused portrait of the inner workings of one of America's most productive and successful writers, through all twenty-one of Auster's narrative works and the themes and obsessions that drive them.

Book cover for A Life in Words
Book cover for A Life in Words

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“I believe this is a very important book for people who want to know what it means to be a writer, may God help him or her.”

“The most distinguished American writer of [his] generation . . . indeed its only author . . . with any claim to greatness.”

“One of the great writers of our time.”

blog — May 01

Paul Auster (02/03/1947 – 04/30/2024)

Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein

Paul Auster: In Remembrance

Paul Auster roamed the plains of American letters, producing works ranging from experimental to commercial fiction, every book something completely new, never repeating himself, producing a half-century of significant contributions, one after another. It would be impossible to conceive of contemporary American literature without him. Truly one of the greats of his generation—a poet and translator turned memoirist and novelist—always hungry to expand the boundaries of what a book can be. Not least, he bridged the cultures of Big and Independent publishing. His last book, Baumgartner, from the independent publisher Grove, is a strong novel, not at all a book you’d think could have been written by a sick man, although Paul was already very sick with cancer when he wrote it. The Invention of Solitude, his first book, is certainly one of the towering works of the second half of the 20th century—there’s never been a debut like it.

We published Paul’s A Life in Words, a book-length series of conversations with a Danish academic, I.B. Siegumfeldt, who specializes in Paul Auster studies. It has him telling the story of each of his books from The Invention of Solitude (1982) to Sunset Park (2010).

Paul was someone who talked to you on the phone, not via email. He would call, and you could call him. For most of the years I knew him, he didn’t have an assistant. He embodied all that makes American writing so particular, the savage grace that grows from us still being a young frontier country after all. We will always miss him now.

—Dan Simon for Seven Stories Press

Paul Auster

Paul Auster is one of the very few giants of English-language literature who has successfully made the leap from the twentieth to the twenty-first century. A poet and translator before he crossed over to mainstream relevance as a memoirist and novelist, Auster continues to challenge and dazzle his readers in America and around the world. A testament to his literary statures, his book A Life in Words: Conversations with I. B. Siegumfeldt records three years of dialogue during the creation of the Center for Paul Auster Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Auster's most recent novel is 4 3 2 1. He lives in Brooklyn.

I. B. Siegumfeldt

I. B. Siegumfeldt is an associate professor of English, Germanic, and Romance Studies at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the driving force behind the university's forthcoming Paul Auster center.