Paul West was born and raised in New York City; he currently resides in Harlem, where he has lived for much of his life. After graduating from NYU with a B.A. in History, he worked in the education and nonprofit world for many years before switching lanes and working in advertising and then fashion. First Cause was conceived as a screenplay idea in the early 1990s, when West was still an undergraduate; he shelved the project for nearly a decade, and began work again in 1999.
Paul West is a sports enthusiast, student of people, lover of music, voracious reader and fervent believer in human possibility. His literary influences include, but are not limited to, Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, Sinclair Lewis, Octavia Butler and Ursula LeGuin.