Paul Auster was born (1947) and raised in New Jersey. His father was a landlord over many apartment buildings and was a very distant man. Auster's parents were very unhappily married. Paul Auster's little sister was born with serious mental illness that took a toll on the family from the time she was age 5, on. Auster vigorously read his Uncle's book collection which was stored at Auster's childhood home. He took to writing poetry and had a very helpful and influential teacher who critiqued his work for him. Auster spent much of his early life working any job that would pay the bills and allow him to write. After graduating from Columbia College in 1970 he moved to Paris, France and took a job translating French literature. He returned to the states in 1974 and began publishing poems, essays and novels in addition to publishing his translations of French literature. Paul Auster has been married twice. Once to a famous writer, Lydia Davis and second to Siri Hustvedt. Auster has a daughter from one marriage and a son from the other. In 1979 when his father died, Auster was left an inheritance that was a game changer for him. Auster was finally able to focus on writing only and not worry about how the bills were going to get paid. His father's death enabled him to write more through pragmatic means (the inheritance) and also inspired Auster to write Part 1 of his memoir, "The Invention of Solitude".
Paul Auster is the Vice President for the PEN American Center, an organization that encourages free expression and the advancement of literature.
Information on Paul Auster's life gleaned from:
Paul Auster's wikipedia page:
Hadley Freeman's interview with Auster for The Guardian