Amor Towles is the author of A Gentleman in Moscow, “a masterly encapsulation of modern Russian history” that tells the story of a count who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel (Kirkus Reviews). Towles is often compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald for his focus on high society and is celebrated by his readers for the elegance of his language and storytelling.
A Gentleman in Moscow spent 58 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was named one of the best books of the year by the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and NPR. The book, which was described as “a salve” for the disorder of our current world by novelist Ann Patchett, was also a finalist for the Kirkus Prize. The novel is currently being made into a television mini-series starring Kenneth Branagh.
Born outside of Boston to a middle-class working family, Towles studied at Yale University before receiving his MA in English from Stanford. After college, he moved to New York City, where he decided to put away his passion for writing and join a friend in an investment banking firm. For the next two decades, Towles worked in finance but never fully abandoned his original love for writing.
Towles sat down to write the 26 chapters of his first novel, Rules of Civility, in just 52 weeks. He allotted one week to write and one week to edit each chapter. After completing the first draft, Towles spent the next two consecutive years revising and simplifying his language. His regimented schedule paid off: in 2011, Rules of Civility hit the New York Times bestseller list and was named one of the best books of the year by The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, and Oprah Magazine.
After the success of Rules of Civility, Towles retired from his work in finance to focus on writing full time. He drew inspiration for A Gentleman in Moscow, in part, from a childhood pen-pal he chanced into when he threw a message in a bottle into the Atlantic Ocean. Intended for China, the message instead found Harrison Salisbury, a post World War II Moscow correspondent for the New York Times. Salisbury would later work as the managing editor for the paper and is credited with establishing the Opinion Section.