Arthur Koestler

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Biographical Information

Arthur Koestler (1905 - 1983) "who founded the Koestler Awards in 1962, was one of the key writers and thinkers of the mid 20th century. His experiences as a political prisoner gave him exceptional insight into the relationship between imprisonment and creativity, and he is famous for the classic prison novel Darkness at Noon... The Koestler Awards grew out of his work to abolish hanging. His books of essays included The Ghost in the Machine (1967), which analysed the anxieties of the nuclear age and later lent its title to an album by The Police.

"In his final years, Koestler argued for voluntary euthanasia. Aged 77, with Leukaemia and Parkinson's Disease, he took his own life by overdose. His third wife Cynthia, aged 55 and in good health, committed suicide with him. They left their wealth to research into the paranormal, funding a parapsychology unit at Edinburgh University. This was set up as the Koestler Parapsychology Unit.

"In 1998, a biography by David Cesarani detailed Koestler's sexual affairs and drinking. It included a disclosure by Jill Craigie, wife of Labour MP Michael Foot, that she had been raped by Koestler in 1952." [1]


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  1. Koestler Trust Arthur Koestler, organizational web page, accessed May 2, 2012.