Paul Bowles (December 30, 1910 - November 18, 1999), was a composer, author, and traveler. He was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York to Rena and Claude Bowles. .
Bowles became an iconoclast of the Tangerinos - American and European expatriates centered in Tangier, Morocco. Bowles had been a part of Gertrude Stein's literary and artistic circle in France. On the advice of Stein, Bowles first visited Tangier in 1931 with Aaron Copland, later returning to New York where he wrote numerous musical pieces for the theater. In 1938, he married author Jane Auer, and they were prominent among the literary figures of New York throughout the 1940s. He studied music with Aaron Copland and worked as a music critic under Virgil Thomson at the New York Herald Tribune in the 1940s.
Paul Bowles moved permanently to Tangier, Morocco in 1947, and Jane Bowles followed him there in 1948. Prominent literary friends visited them there including Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Gore Vidal. He traveled extensively throughout Morocco and recorded Moroccan music which is now housed in the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington. In the 1950s Bowles bought the tiny island of Taprobane, off the coast of Celylon (now Sri Lanka), and he wrote much of his novel The Spider's House there, returning to Tangier in the warmer months.
After the death of Jane Bowles in 1973 in Malaga, Spain, Bowles continued to live in Tangier, writing and receiving visitors to his modest apartment. He also wrote incidental music for plays performed at the American School of Tangier. In 1995 Bowles returned to New York for a festival of his music at the Lincoln Center.
Bowles died in Tangier on November 18, 1999, and though he had lived in Morocco for more than 50 years, he was buried in Lakemont, New York, next to the graves of his parents and grandparents.
The Sheltering Sky (1949)
Let It Come Down (1952)
The Spider's House (1955)
Up Above the World (1966)
He also published fourteen short story collections and three volumes of poetry. Among his life's accomplishments were translations of stories from the oral tradition of native Moroccan storytellers including Mohammed Mrabet, Driss Ben Hamed Charhadi (Larbi Layachi), and Ahmed Yacoubi. He also translated contemporary Moroccan author Mohammed Choukri and also spent five weeks in 1959 recording 'andaluz' music while traveling around Morocco. Two recordings have been commercially released and all are archived in the American Library of Congress.
In 1990 Bernardo Bertolucci adapted The Sheltering Sky (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100594/) into a film in which Bowles plays the narrative voice.