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Norman Rush was raised in Oakland, California, and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1956. He has been an antiquarian book dealer, a college instructor, and, with his wife Elsa, he lived and worked in Africa from 1978 to 1983. They now reside in Rockland County, New York. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Best American Short Stories. Whites, a collection of stories, was published in 1986, and his first novel, Mating, the recipient of the National Book Award, was published in 1991. Mortals is his second novel.