Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has lived throughout the U.S. and Europe. He spent a year in Romania on a Fulbright grant, an experience that helped inspire his first five books. He now lives in Hungary with his wife and daughter.
His first novel, The Bridge of Sighs (2003), began a five-book sequence chronicling Cold War Eastern Europe, one book per decade. It was nominated for five awards. The rest of the sequence includes: The Confession, 36 Yalta Boulevard (The Vienna Assignment in the UK), Liberation Movements (The Istanbul Variations in the UK)this one was nominated for an Edgar Award for best novel of the yearand Victory Square, which was a New York Times editor's choice.
With The Tourist (2009), he began a trilogy of spy tales focused on international deception in the post 9/11 world. The Tourist reached the New York Times bestseller list, and has been translated into 25 languages. The second volume, The Nearest Exit, was published in 2010 and won the Hammett Prize for best literary crime novel of the year. The finale, An American Spy, was published in March 2012 in the US and UK, and it spent 3 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, as well as the LA Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.
The Tourist is being developed for film by Columbia Pictures, with Doug Liman to direct.
Forthcoming books include The Cairo Affair (2014), which begins in Budapest and moves to post-Mubarak Cairo and Libya in the midst of the Arab Spring, and All the Old Knives, a novel of terrorism and revenge, split between a restaurant in California and the American embassy in Vienna.
He is presently working on a novel focused on home-grown American terrorism.
Olen Steinhauer's website
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The Origins of The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
What is Tourism? We know the pitchLangley will tell you
that Tourism is the backbone of their readiness paradigm, the immediate
response pyramid, or whatever they've rebranded it this year. That you,
as a Tourist, are the pinnacle of contemporary autonomous intelligence
work. You're a diamond. Really.
The Black Book of Tourism, Anonymous
The idea of a Tourist as a kind of intelligence agent sprang out
of my own lifestyle. Not that I've ever been a spy, committed murder, or
smuggled state secrets across bordersno, not that. What I've done, since 2001,
is live in that tenuous non-place in which many expatriates exist. It's neither
the home you've left behind, nor an adopted cultureinstead, it's somewhere in
between: a bubble of your own construction, in which English is the national
language, and the details are arranged so that you can live just as you'd like.
It's a world without roots, carrying within it all the pros and cons this suggests, and until the recent birth of my daughter, I felt very much tied to the rootlessness of the expat. I knew that at any moment, if necessary, I could ...
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