Ryszard Kapuściński was born in Poland in 1932, and studied history and Polish language and literature at the University of Warsaw. As a foreign correspondent for PAP, the Polish news agency, until 1981, he was an eyewitness to revolutions and civil wars in Africa, Asia and Latin America, experiences that have made him one of the foremost writers on crises in the modern world. His texts have been published in The New York Times, Time magazine and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (among others), and have been translated into thirty languages. His books include Another Day of Life (1976; Penguin, 2001); The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat (1978), an account of the decline and fall of Haile Selassie of Ethiopia; Shah of Shahs (1982), on the last days of the Persian Shah; The Soccer War (1988), eyewitness accounts fi:om Third World countries; Imperium (1992), memoirs and essays on the Soviet Union; and four volumes of Lapidarium (1990, 1995, 1997 and 2000), journalistic, political and poetic notes and essays. Kapuściński has been awarded several international literary prizes, such as the German Publishers' and Booksellers' Prize (1994), the Prix d'Astrolabe, France (1995), the Turzanski Foundation Award, Canada (1996), the Joseph Conrad Literary Award, USA (1997), the Hansische-Goethe Preis, Germany (1998), the Gottingen-Torun Partner Cities Literary Prize, Germany-Poland (1999) and the Premio lnternazionale Viareggio, Italy (2000). He was recendy made 'journalist of the century' in Poland.