Paul Theroux biography

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Paul Theroux
Photo: Greg Martin

Paul Theroux

How to pronounce Paul Theroux: Thor-ew (which, incidentally, is different to Henry Thoreau which is pronounced like 'thorough')

Paul Theroux Biography

Paul Theroux ('The world's most perceptive travel writer'--Daily Mail) is the author of many highly acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Great Railway Bazaar (1975), The Mosquito Coast (1981) Riding the Iron Rooster (1983), and Mr. Bones: Twenty Stories (2014). In 2015, Paul Theroux was awarded a Royal Medal from the Royal Geographical Society for "the encouragement of geographical discovery through travel writing." This award, approved by the Queen, is the highest award attainable for a traveler, and Theroux joins the ranks of recipients including Sir Edmund Hillary, Admiral Richard Byrd and Dr. Thor Heyerdahl. His other awards include the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters Award for literature; the Whitbread Prize for his novel, Picture Palace; and the James Tait Black Award for The Mosquito Coast. His travelogue, The Old Patagonian Express: By Train through the Americas, and The Mosquito Coast were both nominated for the American Book Award. His novels Saint Jack, The Mosquito Coast, Doctor Slaughter and Half Moon Street have been made into films and his short-story collection London Embassy was adapted for a British mini-series in 1987. Theroux holds honorary doctorates from three American universities and remains a highly sought-after speaker nationwide.

In The New York Times Book Review, Francine Prose called his story collection Mr. Bones "a series of characteristically dark and sharply focused snapshots from the world that Theroux has observed–and invented." Theroux's book Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads (2015), was described by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review as "an epically compelling travel memoir," and a Publishers Weekly starred review called it "Theroux's best outing in years." In a starred review, Publishers Weekly describes the essay collection Figures in a Landscape (2018) as "a magisterial grouping of intimate remembrances, globe-trotting adventures, and incisive literary critiques."

In 2016, the Huntington Library in Pasadena, Calif. acquired Paul Theroux's papers for its collection, covering the period from 1965 to 2015. The Theroux Archive at the Huntington Library includes notebooks, autograph drafts, unpublished texts, and corrected typescript drafts for nearly all of Theroux's 51 books, as well as extensive and significant correspondence from the Nobel Prize-winning novelist V.S. Naipaul and many other writers, including Graham Greene, S.J. Perelman, Nadine Gordimer, Margaret Drabble, Iris Murdoch, Stephen Spender, Gore Vidal, Laurens van der Post, Jan Morris, William Styron, and Bruce Chatwin. "One of the most accomplished and worldly-wise writers of his generation" (The Times, London). Paul Theroux lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

Paul Theroux's website

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Interview

Read an interview with Paul Theroux in which he discusses his recent travels through Africa, his views on foreign aid, and his hopes for Africa's future.

You taught in Africa in the early 1960s. Why did you decide to return after almost 40 years?
Since leaving Africa in October 1968 I thought of the places I had worked, the people I had known, and the hope we all had. I constantly thought: What happened? I longed to return, and I thought I would do it in the year I turned 60. My book represents one man’s road. Another person could take the same trip and would have different experiences. That’s a truism, of course. This trip was special to me—because the road was in part Memory Lane—and because I loved the challenges. There is nothing in the world more vitalizing to me that traveling in the African bush.

It is wonderful for a teacher to meet a former student and see that he or she is gainfully employed—perhaps as a teacher; and is a responsible parent and homeowner. This happened to me in Malawi and Uganda—wonderful memories. My old friend Apolo Nsibambi—we used to drink and argue in the 1960s—is now Prime Minister of Uganda. I loved seeing him after 30 years. The passage of time is more dramatic in Africa—amazing to witness its effects, for I first set foot there in 1963, which was another age altogether.
...

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Books by this Author

Books by Paul Theroux at BookBrowse
On the Plain of Snakes jacket Deep South jacket Mr. Bones jacket The Last Train to Zona Verde jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Paul Theroux 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

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    If you enjoyed:
    Dark Star Safari

    Try:
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    by Anna Badkhen

  • Greg Behrman

    Greg Behrman

    reg Behrman is the founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of NationSwell. NationSwell is a digital media company focused on American renewal. The team identifies the new American innovators and pioneers who are doing the most ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Dark Star Safari

    Try:
    The Invisible People
    by Greg Behrman

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