János Székely was born in Budapest in 1901. At eighteen he fled Hungary for Berlin where he established himself as a successful screenwriter, penning scripts for silent movie stars such as Brigitte Helm, Willy Fritsch and Marlene Dietrich. In 1938 he emigrated to the United States and continued writing for films in Hollywood, going on to win an Academy Award for Best Story for Arise, My Love in 1940. His novel Temptation was initially published in English translation in 1946 under the pseudonym John Pen. Blacklisted during the McCarthy era, Székely spent several years in Mexico with his family before returning to Berlin in 1957. He died there in 1958.