Walter Abish was born in Vienna in 1931, moving to America in 1957. Since 1970, he has published six books, including Alphabetical Africa (1974) and How German Is It? (1980) which won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1981 (both books are published by New Directions). Abish then served on the board of International PEN from 1982-1988, and currently serves as a fellow for American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His most recent work, a memoir entitled Double Vision: A Self Portrait, was published in 2004.