William Joseph Kennedy is an American writer and journalist born on January 16, 1928. He was raised in Albany, New York. William Joseph Kennedy won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for his novel Ironweed. The novel is set during the Great Depression and tells the story of Francis Phelan, an alcoholic vagrant originally from Albany, New York, who left his family after accidentally killing his infant son while he may have been drunk. The novel focuses on Francis’s return to Albany, and the narrative is complicated by Phelan’s hallucinations of the three people, other than his son, whom he killed in the past.
Many of his novels feature the interaction of members of the fictional Irish-American Phelan family, and make use of incidents of Albany’s history and the supernatural.
William Kennedy has written eight novels in what he calls the “Albany Cycle,” all set in his native city, Albany, N.Y. His other works include The Ink Truck (1969), Legs (1975), Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game (1978), and Roscoe (2002).