Born in 1957 in Evanston, Illinois, Richard Powers lived in Bangkok, Thailand from age eleven to sixteen while his father taught there. Upon the family’s return to the United States he majored in physics at the University of Illinois, but later switched to English, in which he subsequently received his B.A. and M.A. degrees. Powers then moved to Boston where he worked as a computer programmer; after publishing his first novel, he lived in the Netherlands and spent a year at Cambridge before returning to teach at the University of Illinois. His eleven novels to date include The Gold Bug Variations, which uses the double-helix as a metaphor for two separate romances; Galatea 2.2, a meditation on artificial intelligence; and The Echo Maker, the story of a young Nebraska man suffering from capgras syndrome, which won the National Book Award in 2006. Powers has received both a MacArthur Fellowship and a Lannan Literary Award, and has taught Creative Writing at Stanford University.