Pen Name: None
Born: August 16, 1908 in Lincoln, Illinois
Died: July 31, 2000
Celebrated on the Illinois State Library, Gwendolyn Brooks Building
"Reading is rapture (or if it isn't, I put the book down meaning to go on with it later, and escape out the side door)." - William Maxwell, The Outermost Dream
Photo Credit: CC-BY Freebase
William Maxwell was born in Lincoln and moved to Chicago with his family after high school. He attended University of Illinois in Champaign and after graduate school he returned to the University of Illinois to spend two years on the English faculty.
Biographical and Professional Information
William Keepers Maxwell was an American novelist, short story writer and editor. He explored his Illinois childhood in a series of novels and short story collections, including Bright Center of Heaven (1934), They Came Like Swallows (1937), The Folded Leaf (1945) and So Long, See You Tomorrow (1980). Maxwell is sometimes called a "writer's writer", who has never had extraordinary commercial success but is highly respected by other writers for his craftsmanship and power. He also nurtured other developing writers as a longtime fiction editor for the New Yorker.
William Maxwell, throughout a long residence in New York, has continued to explore his Illinois childhood in Lincoln and Chicago in a series of novels and short-story collections. He taught freshman compostion at the University of Illinois and later became an associate editor of the New Yorker magazine. He was the fiction editor of The New Yorker magazine for forty years (1936-1975).
- Bright Center of Heaven, 1934
- They Came Like Swallows, 1937
- Time Will Darken It, Harper, 1948
- Stories, Farrar Straus, 1956
- The Chateau, Knopf, 1961
- The Old Man at the Railroad Crossing and Other Tales, Knopf, 1966
- Ancestors: A Family History, Knopf, 1971
- Over By the River and Other Stories, Knopf, 1977
- So Long See You Tomorrow, Knopf, 1980
- Five Tales Written for His Family on Special Occasions and Printed to Celebrate His Eightieth Birthday, 16 August 1988, Cummington Press, 1988
- The Outermost Dream Essays and Reviews, Knopf, 1989
- Billy Dyer and Other Stories, Knopf, 1992
- All the Days and Nights, Vintage, 1995
Titles for Purchase and at Your Library
William Maxwell: Early Novels and Stories
Release Date: 2008-01-10
Time Will Darken It: A Novel (Nonpareil Book, 28)
Release Date: 1994-09-01
They Came Like Swallows
Release Date: 1997-03-25
All the Days and Nights: The Collected Stories
Release Date: 1995-10-31
In 1990, his name was engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures.
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