Olen Steinhauer biography

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Olen Steinhauer
Photo: Nancy Crampton

Olen Steinhauer

Olen Steinhauer Biography

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 and New York 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 year—and 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.

Most recently, All the Old Knives (2015), deals with terrorism, love and revenge, split between a restaurant in California and the American embassy in Vienna.

He spent nearly a year in Berlin making a television show, Berlin Station.

Olen Steinhauer's website

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Interview

Olen Steinhauer explains the origins of his spy novel, The Tourist.

What is Tourism? We know the pitch—Langley 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 borders—no, 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 culture—instead, 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 disappear.

Tourism is one logical extension of ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Olen Steinhauer at BookBrowse
All the Old Knives jacket The Cairo Affair jacket An American Spy jacket The Nearest Exit jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Olen Steinhauer but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Charles Cumming

    Charles Cumming

    Charles Cumming was born in Scotland in 1971. He was educated at Ludgrove School (1979-1984), Eton College (1985-1989) and the University of Edinburgh (1990-1994), where he graduated with 1st Class Honours in English ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Tourist

    Try:
    The Trinity Six
    by Charles Cumming

  • Victor del Arbol

    Victor del Arbol

    Victor del Árbol holds a degree in history from the University of Barcelona. He has worked for Catalonia's police force from 1992 to 2012. In 2006, he won the Tiflos de Novela Award for The Weight of the Dead. The ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Tourist

    Try:
    The Sadness of the Samurai
    by Victor del Arbol

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