Raised in Oakland, California, Norman Rush graduated from Swarthmore College and worked as an antiquarian book dealer and a teacher. He lived in Africa from 1978 to 1983. In 1986, his short story collection, Whites, was a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist. Mating, a novel, won the 1991 National Book Award for Fiction and the International Fiction Prize (Irish Times/Aer Lingus). He lives with his wife Elsa in New York.
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