Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  James W. Bennett  

Pen Name: James Bennett

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1942 in Piatt County, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Bennett lived in Canton, Monticello and Bloomington, Illinois as a child. He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois with his BA and Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois with a MA. He once taught at Black Hawk Jr. College in Moline, Illinois and he currently resides in Normal, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

James W. Bennett is the author of a number of uncompromising, challenging novels for teens. The books have earned him recognition as one of the nation's leading nevelists for young adults. Bennett's fiction, often revolving around sports themes, has been used successfully as a curriculum choice in schools. Bennett has worked as a teacher of creative writing at a community college until 1976 and as an aide to high school-aged mentally handicapped students in Bloomington, Illinois, 1983-95. He was a writer-in-residence for Illinois secondary schools. His book ''The Squared Circle'' is considered by many to be the finest basketball novel ever written.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- *"1995's Finest YA Novel" citation, Voice of Youth Advocates, 1996, for ''The Squared Circle''

-- *James was honored at the 2004 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.