Paul Edward Theroux, an American novelist and travel writer, was born on April 10, 1941 in Medford, Massachusetts. His most popular work is perhaps The Great Railway Bazaar (1975). Paul Theroux has published several works of fiction, and a great number of them have been adapted as feature films. For his novel The Mosquito Coast, he received 1981 James Tait Black Memorial Prize. The novel was adapted for the movie of the same name in 1986. His parents were Catholic. Theroux’s father, Albert, was French-Canadian and his mother, Anne, was Italian-American. Theroux was a Boy Scout and eventually reached the rank of Eagle Scout. Theroux went to Medford High School, then he studied at the University of Maine, in Orono (1959–60). He obtained a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1963. Theroux went to Malawi in 1963 as a Peace Corps teacher in Malawi. But his involvement in politics in the country forced him out as he was declared persona non grata by Banda in then Malawian leader. As a result of this, his later novel, Jungle Lovers, was banned in Malawi for several years. Theroux then emigrated to Uganda to lecture at Makerere University and wrote for the magazine Transition. In Makerere, he became friends with novelist V. S. Naipaul, who was a visiting scholar to the university at that time. Theroux’s first novel, Waldo (1967), was published while he was still in Uganda—the book’s success was moderate. He published many novels thereafter and won many literary and academic awards.
In some of his books, Theroux makes allusion to his ability to speak Italian, German, French, Spanish, Swahili, Urdu, Mandarin Chinese and Chichewa. Paul Theroux resides in Hawaii and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He was married to Anne Castle (an English woman) from 1967 to 1993. Their union produced two sons: Louis and Marcel, who are writers and television presenters. He has an older son from a college relationship, but he and his unmarried partner had given him up for adoption. Theroux has since 1995 been married to Sheila Donnelly.
Some of the most famous works of Paul Theroux are:
- Dark Star Safari
- The Great Railway Bazaar
- The Old Patagonian Express
- The Kingdom By The Sea
- The Happy Isles Of Oceania
- Riding the Iron Rooster
- Sir Vidia’s Shadow
- Jungle Lovers (banned by Malawian Government)
- His novel Saint Jack (banned by the government of Singapore for 30 years)