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Olen Steinhauer biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Olen Steinhauer
Photo: Nancy Crampton

Olen Steinhauer

Olen Steinhauer Biography

Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has lived throughout the US and Europe. He spent a year in Romania on a Fulbright grant, an experience that helped inspire his first five books. He now splits his time between 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 Cairo Affair (2014), which begins in Budapest and moves to post-Mubarak Cairo and Libya in the midst of the Arab Spring, was published to acclaim from the New York Times, the Seattle Times, Amazon.com, the Saturday Evening Post, the Christian Science Monitor, PopSugar, and others. It reached a number of bestseller lists, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly.

All the Old Knives (2015), deals with terrorism, love and revenge, split between a restaurant in California and the American embassy in Vienna. He penned the screenplay, which is being produced by Chockstone Pictures and Nick Wechsler Productions, and will star Chris Pine. He spent nearly a year in Berlin making a television show, Berlin Station, which ran for three seasons on Epix.

Turning to the threat of domestic terrorism, The Middleman (2018) focuses on the political anxieties and frustrations of contemporary America.

Forthcoming in March 2020, The Last Tourist will return to the world of Milo Weaver, jumping a decade past the events in An American Spy and bringing Milo's story fully into the present.

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
The Last Tourist jacket All the Old Knives jacket The Cairo Affair jacket An American Spy 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 is a British writer of spy fiction. He was educated at Eton College (1985-1989) and the University of Edinburgh (1990-1994), where he graduated with First Class Honours in English Literature. The Observer has ... (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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