BORN: January 16, 1928, Albany, New York IDENTIFICATION: Novelist, journalist, and screenwriter best known for his cycle of novels set in Albany, New York, at different points in the citys history.
SIGNIFICANCE: William Kennedy is widely considered one of the most important of contemporary American authors. He has won both critical and popular acclaim, particularly with his Albany Cycle, a kaleidoscopic series of novels describing the complicated lives and fantastic careers of the city's Irish American citizens over several generations. The cycle includes Billy Phelan's Greatest Game, Ironweed, Quirins Book, The Flaming Corsage, and Roscoe. Ironweed won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; in 1987 the novel was made into a motion picture. Kennedy has also written two well-regarded collections of essays, reviews, literary criticism, and journalism, О Albany! and Riding the Yellow Trolley Car.