Norman Rush was born and raised in the San Francisco area, and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1956. He has been an antiquarian book dealer, a college instructor, and, with his wife Elsa, lived and worked in Africa from 1978 to 1983. His stories gave appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Grand Street, and The Best American Short Stories of 1971, 1984 and 1985. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including an NEA grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship. His first novel, Mating, won the National Book Award for fiction and the prestigious Irish Times/Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize.