William Kennedy was born and raised in Albany, New York. He brought his native city to literary life in many of his works, particularly the acclaimed Albany cycle, which includes Legs, Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game, and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Ironweed. The versatile Kennedy wrote the screenplay for Ironweed, the play Grand View, and co-wrote the screenplay for The Cotton Club with Francis Ford Coppola. Kennedy is a professor in the English department at the State University of New York at Albany and, in 1993, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Kennedy was also named Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters in France.