Nelson Algren Abraham
Celebrated on the Illinois State Library Gwendolyn Brooks Building
Pen Name: Nelson Algren
Born: 1909 in Detroit, Michigan
Died: 1981 in Long Island, New York
When Algren was three years old, his parents moved to Chicago. He was raised in an immigrant neighborhood on the South Side, educated in Chicago's public schools, and studied journalism at the University of Illinois graduating in 1931.
Biographical and Professional Information
Nelson Algren combined subjects drawn from street life with an eloquent, poetic style in a series of novels and short stories, many of which were set in Chicago's Polish communities. During WWII Algren served as a private in an U.S. Army field artillery unit and then as a medical corpsman and was eventually stationed in France. Algren used this experience in several of his short stories, which appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Noble Savage, Playboy and Esquire. He also worked intermittently on the W.P.A. Illinois Writers' Project.
Algren's breakthrough novel came at the age of 41 with The Man with the Golden Arm. The work received the National Book Award and became a successful Hollywood film starring Frank Sinatra in 1956. He was invited to Hollywood to write the screenplay. His book, A Walk on the Wild Side, was also filmed.
He taught creative writing at the universities of Iowa and Florida, and regularly wrote a column for the Chicago Free Press. Algren moved to Long Island in September 1980 and died there of a heart attack on May 9, 1981.
- The Man with the Golden Arm, Seven Stories Press, 2003
- A Walk on the Wild Side: A Novel , Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998
- The Neon Wilderness, Seven Stories Press, 2003
- Never Come Morning, Seven Stories Press, 2001
- Entrapment and Other Writings , Seven Stories Press, 2009
- Algren at Sea: Notes from a Sea Diary & Algren at Sea--The Travel Writings, Seven Stories Press, 2009
- The Devil's Stocking, Seven Stories Press, 2006
- Somebody in Boots: A Novel (Classic Reprint Series), Thunder's Mouth Press, 1987
- Neon Wilderness (Avon 424), Avon, 1952
- The Devils Stocking, The Arbor House Library, 1983
Titles at Your Library
The Man with the Golden Arm
Release Date: 1996-01-09
A Walk on the Wild Side: A Novel
Release Date: 1998-06-24
The Neon Wilderness
Release Date: 2002-01-08
Never Come Morning
Release Date: 2001-11-09
Entrapment and Other Writings
Release Date: 2009-05-05
The Devil's Stocking
Release Date: 2006-01-03
Somebody in Boots: A Novel (Classic Reprint Series)
Release Date: 1987-04
In 2010 Nelson Algren was inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.
National Book Award, The Man with the Golden Arm
In 1990, his name was engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures.
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