US writer and composer. Born in New York City, he studied music composition with Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson, writing scores for ballets, films, and an opera, The Wind Remains 1943, as well as incidental music for plays. He settled in Morocco, the setting of his novels The Sheltering Sky 1949 (filmed 1990) and Let It Come Down 1952, which chillingly depict the existential breakdown of Westerners unable to survive self-exposure in an alien culture. His autobiography, Without Stopping, was published 1972.
Bowles settled permanently in Tangier with his wife, the writer Jane Bowles (1917–1973), after World War II and became greatly influenced by Moroccan storytelling—he later turned to transcribing and translating tales by Mohammed Mrabet and others.