Jerzy Kosinski won France's Best Foreign Book Award for The Painted Bird, the National Book Award in Fiction for Steps, and received the American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters' Award in Literature. He is also the author of Being There, The Devil Tree, Cockpit, Blind Date, Passion Play and Pinball, and of several non-fiction works. His books have been translated into most major languages. Mr Kosinski taught English at Wesleyan, Princeton and Yale Universities. He was the President of the American Center of P.E.N., an association of writers and editors, and was active in many human rights organisations. He died in 1991.