Facts of William Kennedy
|Full Name:||William Kennedy|
|Birthplace:||Albany, New York|
|Wife:||Ana Daisy (Dana) Segarra|
|Kids:||Three (Dana, Katherine, Brendan)|
William Kennedy is a well-known American writer. William Kennedy is well-known for his novels “Ironwood,” “The Cotton Club,” and “The Ink Truck,” among others. Prior to entering the fictitious world of books, he worked as a journalist. Many of William’s novels depict the interactions of members of the fictional Irish-American Phelan family in Albany, New York.
How old is William Kennedy?
William Joseph Kennedy is his full name. He was born on January 16, 1928, in Albany, New York. William is currently 92 years old. Father William Joseph Kennedy and mother Mary Elizabeth (McDonald) Kennedy are his parents. They were descended from Irish immigrants who had settled in North Albany in the nineteenth century.
Auther Kennedy grew up in the Irish-Catholic neighborhood known as the North End or Limerick. As a child, William worked as an altar boy at Sacred Heart Church and hoped to one day become a Catholic priest.
Furthermore, many of Kennedy’s relatives held political positions. His great-grandfather, “Big Jim” Carroll, was a ward leader. His father worked the polls for the machine and occasionally drove William Jr. to Democratic Party rallies. Two of his mother’s brothers were also political operatives.
Education of William Kennedy
Kennedy attended Public School 20 for elementary school. He became interested in the world of print journalism when he was in seventh grade. He began drawing cartoons and even started his own newspaper. When he started high school at Christian Brothers Academy, he began writing for the school newspaper.
He later went to Christian Brothers Academy. Kennedy then left Albany after high school to attend nearby Siena College in Loudonville, New York. In 1949, he earned a BA degree. He was named executive editor of the Siena News, the college newspaper. Willaim Kennedy also enrolled in a creative writing class taught by acclaimed novelist Saul Bellow at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras.
Who is William Kennedy Wife?
William Kennedy is a married man. While working in Puerto Rico, William Kennedy met Ana Daisy (Dana) Segarra. She was a dancer, singer, and actress. The couple later married in Puerto Rico in 1957, but their exact wedding date is unknown. Dana, Katherine, and Brendan are their three children. He currently resides in Averill Park, New York, a hamlet about 16 miles east of Albany.
Career line of William Kennedy
- Kennedy went on to work as a sports editor and columnist for the Glens Falls Post Star after finishing his degree. In 1950, he was drafted into the United States Army and assigned to the Fourth Division in Europe.
- But his journalistic abilities did not go unnoticed during his time in the Army. William Kennedy worked on the division’s newspaper until his discharge in 1952.
- Later, in 1952, William Kennedy returned to his hometown and took a job at the Albany Times-Union. He worked for the Union for the next four years before accepting a job offer from the Puerto Rico World Journal.
- Unfortunately, the paper went out of business after nine months, putting William Kennedy out of work.
- William eventually got a job at the Miami Herald and lived in Miami for a while before returning to Puerto Rico in 1957. After two years in Puerto Rico, William was appointed as the first managing editor of a new newspaper, the San Juan Star.
- William Kennedy began writing fiction after his marriage in Puerto Rico. This is when he enrolled in a creative writing class taught by Saul Bellow.
- Kennedy’s early attempts at fiction impressed Bellow, who encouraged him to keep honing his craft.
- For a time, William Kennedy attempted to write stories about Puerto Rico. However, he found it difficult to write authoritatively about this country without sounding like a tourist. William soon found his muse, who urged him to return to his native Albany. He left journalism two years after starting at the San Juan Star.
- He did it so that he could focus on his creative writing instead.
- Willaim Kennedy moved back to Albany in the year 1963. He was 35 years old and he had already climbed as high as he had ever aspired in the world of print journalism. H
- owever, Kennedy’s father’s health was deteriorating and hence he instead accepted a job as a part-time feature writer at the Albany Times-Union. He did so in order to pay the bills while he worked on his creative endeavors.
- William first earned public acclaim for a series of features he crafted about his home city, its history, politics, and colorful characters.
- These pieces later served as the genesis for Kennedy’s 1983 collection O Albany!. In the year 1965, William was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles he wrote about Albany’s poor neighborhoods.
- The world of book reviewing was another lucrative avenue for William Kennedy’s writing talents. From the year 1964 to 1972, he contributed 37 reviews to the National Observer.
- In the early 1970s, he also wrote for prestigious national publications like Life, The New Republic, Saturday Review, and the New York Times. In spite of all these successes, William Kennedy was convinced that his real interest was in writing novels.
- In the year 1969, William Kennedy realized his dream when he published his first novel, The Ink Truck. This book follows the exploits of Bailey, a columnist embroiled in a newspaper strike. Similarly, the book is inspired by a real-life labor dispute at the Times-Union.
- In his first book, William weaved into the narrative of many of his observations about Irish Catholic life in Albany. He did so by working in a sardonic prose style. Critics generally lauded The Ink Truck as a promising first novel, though they pointed to its somewhat sloppy construction and artistic debt to previous authors as shortcomings.
- Later, William turned to Albany’s history for inspiration. It was for his next work that combined history, fiction, and black humor. Legs, published in 1975, told the story of the final days of gangster Jack “Legs” Diamond.
- He died in a shootout with his enemies in an Albany boarding house in the year 1931.
- The prohibition-era Albany helped set the settings William Kennedy’s next novel, Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game, published in 1978. However, the milieu he chose to explore was closer to home and did not require such extensive research.
- It was the Democratic machine politic. This book is told from the point of view of a journalist, Martin Daugherty, and revolves around the unsuccessful attempt to kidnap the son of a prominent political boss.
- After five years of publishing Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game, William Kennedy completed Ironweed. This novel is set in the Depression-ravaged Albany of 1938.
- It traces the dissolute wanderings of Francis Phelan, the father of Billy from Kennedy’s previous novel.
- William Kennedy’s publisher, Viking Press, initially rejected the manuscript for Ironweed. They did so on the grounds that it would not sell. Thirteen other publishing houses also did the same as Viking. This prompted William’s old friend and mentor, Saul Bellow, to intervene.
- He wrote a scathing letter to Viking executives urging them to publish Ironweed. Saul also assured them that the book would be both a commercial as well as critical success.
- Vikings went with Saul’s advice and published Ironweed. The book became a masterwork and received both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for “Fiction”. The novel sold 100,000 copies in two years. The novel’s artistic achievement earned William Kennedy a MacArthur Foundation grant worth $264,000 over five years.
- William Kennedy was still a struggling novelist at the time, who had labored in relative obscurity. After this novel, he was now a literary celebrity with the financial security he had long desired.
- After IronwoodsWilliam Kennedy did not take a rest even after the success of Ironwood. Instead, he returned immediately to the life of letters, accepting appointment by New York governor, Mario Cuomo, to head a New York State Writers Institute.
- He published O Albany! in 1983. It is a collection of his new and old essays about his home city. Later in 1987, he wrote the screenplay for a film version of Ironweed and Hector Babenco directed the movie.
- William Kennedy began referring to his books as part of a cycle in which all the events and characters were somehow interconnected.
- He set his 1988 novel, Quinn’s Book, in Civil War-era Albany and featured characters related to those in his previous novels. Another book, Very Old Bones, published in 1992 expanded on the history of the Phelan family.
- In 1993, William Kennedy was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It is a group of 250 prominent American artists, architects, writers, and composers. His non-fiction collection, Riding the Yellow Trolley Car, also appeared the same year.
- It comprised of essays, memoirs, reviews, and reportage from his days as a reporter for the Albany Times-Union.
- Three years later, he diversified his artistic portfolio with his first play, Grand View. The play premiered at Capital Repertory Company in Albany. The play dramatized the clash between the two major political parties vying for control of Albany’s government.
- In addition, William Kennedy has also co-authored two children’s books with his son Brendan. They are Charlie Malarkey and the Belly Button Machine published in 1986 and Charlie Malarkey and the Singing Moose published in 1993.