Arthur Koestler, CBE (5 September 1905 – 1 March 1983) was a Hungarian-British author and journalist. Koestler was born in Budapest and, apart from his early school years, was educated in Austria. In 1931 Koestler joined the Communist Party of Germany until, disillusioned by Stalinism, he resigned in 1938. In 1940 he published his novel Darkness at Noon, an anti-totalitarian work that gained him international fame. Over the next 43 years, from his residence in Britain, Koestler espoused many political causes, and wrote novels, memoirs, biographies and numerous essays. In 1968 he was awarded the Sonning Prize “for [his] outstanding contribution to European culture” and in 1972 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
Arthur Koestler, 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.
After the War, Koestler lived in Wales, France and New Jersey before settling in London to pursue a huge range of literary, political and social activities. 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.
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In 1983 Arthur and his wife killed themselves at their home in London.