William Kennedy research paper

Submitted By McKenna-Mallory
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McKenna Mallory
Mr. Herbster
Honors English 3
5 January 2015
William Kennedy

William J. Kennedy was born and raised in Albany, New York. He was a writer, a playwright

and a screenwriter, as well as a retired journalist. His journalism work and his fiction writing career were something he struggled to distinguish for a long time. In several interviews he is also quoted to say that he is still struggling to figure out what fiction really is. Kennedy lived most of his life in
Puerto Rico and Albany, admitting that Albany is the place he identifies with the most. He is a Pulitzer
Prize winning novelist. His most famous work,
Ironweed
, was the reason for him receiving the Pulitzer
Prize. Thirteen publishers turned down the novel itself, before being picked up by (put the company).
According to an article written in 1987 by The New York Times Kennedy’s work is deeply connected to his hometown. His life can be characterized by his childhood and his adult life, his trouble distinguishing the barrier between journalism and fiction, as well as his work’s success following
Ironweed.

William Joseph Kennedy was born in Albany, NY, in January 16, 1928. He studied in Public

School 20, in Christian Brothers Academy, and in Siena College. After that he pursued a career in journalism. Kennedy worked as a sports reporter at the Post Star in Glens Falls, and as a reporter for the
Army newspaper, after being drafted in 1950. When he was discharged from service Kennedy continued his career as a reporter and joined the Albany Times Union. He did not stay long because in
1956 he moved to Puerto Rico and accepted a job there. Three years later, in 1959 he became the founding managing editor of the new San Juan Star. (albany.edu)

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Kennedy took a writing course at the University of Puerto Rico with a novelist named Saul

Bellow. A year later he quit his job as a managing editor in order to write fiction full time. His entire life afterwards began to surround itself around distinguishing the difference between journalism and fiction writing. In Puerto Rico William Kennedy met a woman named Dana Sosa, who was a
Broadway actress and a dancer, and he soon married her. Together the two had three children, Dana,
Katherine, and Brendan, and also seven grandchildren. (albany.edu)

William Kennedy began his career as a journalist despite secretly having a love for fiction

writing. While reporting news stories and interviewing people Kennedy would use the stories he heard and not only write the articles he needed to for his job but he would also turn what he had heard into short stories. In a video interview he explained that as a college student he would be assigned an article to write and a fictional short story. He said that he would always write the story first despite it having a later due date than the article. Kennedy sets all of his novels in Albany in what he refers to as the
Albany Cycle
, which includes
Legs, Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game
, and
Ironweed
. Kennedy wrote several plays and screenplays. He wrote the play
Grand View and co­wrote the screenplay for the
The
Cotton Club with Francis Ford Coppola, the director of The Godfather. (penguin.com)

Kennedy realized that after he was writing short stories he was still telling the news in a way.

He began to see similarities between the two ways of writing. In an interview in 2012 he said, “It took me a while to separate the two careers. One is much involved with the moment and the topography of the moment, the sounds and sights and smells of the moment. But fiction is not that. Fiction has to start inside” (theguardian.com).

William Kennedy went on to explain that these stories were rejected but not harshly. He

described it as friendly rejections. This forced him to become restless and eventually move out from
Albany. He became bored with it. Kennedy’s need to do…