|Son of a leather salesman and a schoolteacher, Theroux is one of six children. He began writing at the age of 14. After high school, he attended the University of Maine and the University of Massachusetts (B.A., 1963), then began graduate school at Syracuse University but dropped out to join the Peace Corps. He taught English in Malawi until he was deported for his (unwitting) involvement in a plot to assassinate the head of the government. He then taught in Uganda until 1968, and in Singapore until 1971. By then, he had published five novels, and he gave up teaching to write. He married and lived in England, but after his divorce he began to live part of the time in the U.S. Much of his fiction is set in the places where he has lived, and deals with the situation of an American expatriate. It was not until the publication of his best-selling travel book, THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR, that Theroux became a popular writer.