William Kennedy

Kennedy, William, 1928–, American novelist, b. Albany, N.Y., grad. Siena College, 1949. Brought up in Albany, he worked as a journalist from 1949 to 1970, and began to concentrate on writing fiction in the early 1960s. In evocative prose, with vivid characterizations and acutely observed dialog, Kennedy's novels mingle history with myth, politics with the personal, and lyricism with squalor. His work is inextricably bound up with his hometown, which has provided rich subject matter for most of his fiction, including his best-known novel, Ironweed (1983; National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize; film, 1987), the tale of an alcoholic former major-league pitcher who ekes out an existence in the city's skid-row district in the 1930s. Kennedy's other Albany cycle novels are The Ink Truck (1969), Legs (1975), Billy Phelan's Greatest Game (1978), Quinn's Book (1988), The Flaming Corsage (1996), Roscoe (2001), and Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes (2011). He has also written other novels; essays, some of which were collected in O Albany! (1983) and Riding the Yellow Trolley Car (1993); a play and screenplays; and children's books. Kennedy has taught at the University at Albany–SUNY since 1973.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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