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A graduate of Spiru Haret high-school, he studied literature at the Bucharest University. His debut was a collection of poems, "Zeu printre blocuri" (A God Between Apartment Buildings). In 1969 he published "Prins" (Caught), a very successful novel, which launched him as a reference writer in Romanian literature. He went on a scholarship to Vienna (1971–1972), and in 1974 accepted an invitation from the University of Iowa to participate in the International Writing Program.
When Popescu defected to England in 1975, the Romanian government tried him for treason. All his works in Romania were destroyed, and he was forbidden to return to Romania, an edict that reversed when Nicolae Ceaușescu lost power in 1989. A year later, Popescu moved to the United States, settling in Los Angeles.
Popescu received a letter from Robert Redford inviting him to submit a script for consideration for the Sundance Film Festival. In 1983, Popescu took Death of an Angel to Sundance, where the script came to near finalization. The festival enabled him to find backers for the film, which was released in 1986.
Novels written in Romanian
- 1969 - Prins
- 1970 - Dulce ca mierea e glonţul patriei
- 1973 - Să creşti într-un an cât alţii într-o zi
- 1974 - Sfârşitul bahic
- 1974 - Copiii Domnului
- 1993 - Înainte şi după Edith
- 2002 - Întoarcerea
- 2003 - În coasta lui Adam
- 2008 - Urme în Timp
- 2009 - Supleantul
Bibliography in English
- 1973 - Bough
- 1974 - Blues
- 1975 - Burial of the vine
- 1975 - Boxes, Stairs & Whistle Time
- Popescu, Petru (1977). The Last Wave. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0-207-13591-6.
- 1978 - Before and After Edith
- Popescu, Petru (1989). In Hot Blood. New York: Fawcett Gold Medal. ISBN 0-449-14554-9.
- Popescu, Petru (1991). Amazon Beaming. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-670-82997-8.
- Popescu, Petru (1996). Almost Adam : a novel. New York: William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-14863-8.
- Popescu, Petru (1997). The Return. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-1613-2.
- Popescu, Petru (2001). The Oasis: A Memoir of Love and Survival in a Concentration Camp. New York: St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 0-312-27869-1.
- Popescu, Petru (2001). Weregirls: Birth of the Pack. New York: Tor Teen. ISBN 978-0-7653-1641-7.
- 2008 - Weregirls: Through the Moon Glass
- Popescu, Petru (2008). Footprints in Time. New York: Laura Geringer Books. ISBN 978-0-06-088400-0.
- Popescu, Petru (2009). Girl Mary. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-3263-7.
- 1972 - Drum în penumbră - as producer
- 1977 - The Last Wave (aka Black Rain in USA) - Ultimul val - as producer
- 1982 - Friday the 13th Part III (1982) (uncredited) ... aka Friday the 13th Part 3 (USA: video title)
- 1984 - Obsessive Love - (TV, story) - as writer
- 1986 - Death of an Angel - Moartea unui înger - as director
- 1988 - Emma: Queen of the South Seas TV mini-series - as writer
- 1994 - Nobody's Children (TV)- as writer
- Macmillan Publishing, USA http://us.macmillan.com/torteen/weregirlsbirthofthepack
- Basbanes, Nicholas A. (11 August 1996). "Ancient Civilizations Inspired Almost Adam". Toledo Blade.
- Kleiner, Dick (14 August 1984). "Romanian Director Finds Pleasure in American Life". Ocala Star-Banner.
- "Redford Helps Romanian Director". Toledo Blade. 19 August 1984.
- "Thanks to Robert Redford-Independent Filmmaker Gets Chance to Prove His Ability". Schenectady Gazette. 21 July 1984.
- ^ Google books: Petru Popescu http://books.google.com/books?as_auth=Petru+Popescu&source=an&ei=SVIbSp-tAdSCkQX61sX-DA&sa=X&oi=book_group&ct=title&cad=author-navigational&resnum=4
- IMDB: Petru Popescu