Russell Banks at the 2011 Texas Book Festival.
March 28, 1940 |
Newton, Massachusetts, United States
|Notable work(s)||Continental Drift, Affliction, Rule of the Bone, Cloudsplitter, The Darling|
Russell Banks was born in Newton, Massachusetts on March 28, 1940. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in upstate New York, and has been named a New York State Author. He is also Artist-in-Residence at the University of Maryland. He is married to the poet Chase Twichell. Banks is an American novelist best known for his “detailed accounts of domestic strife and the daily struggles of ordinary often-marginalized characters”. His stories usually revolve around his own childhood experiences, the often reflect “moral themes and personal relationships”.
Banks is a member of the International Parliament of Writers and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous international prizes and awards. He has written fiction, and more recently, non-fiction, with Dreaming up America. His main works include the novels Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone, Cloudsplitter, The Sweet Hereafter, and Affliction. The latter two novels were each made into feature films in 1997 (see The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction).
Many of Banks's works reflect his working-class upbringing. His stories often show people facing tragedy and downturns in everyday life, expressing sadness and self-doubt, but also showing resilience and strength in the face of their difficulties. Banks has also written short stories, some of which appear in the collection The Angel on the Roof, as well as poetry. He has written a movie adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On the Road for producer Francis Ford Coppola, which was slated for production in 2006. It is not known if Banks's screenplay will be used in the final version. Banks's novel The Darling is going to be made into a feature film directed by Martin Scorsese, with Cate Blanchett in the main role. Banks was the 1985 recipient of the John Dos Passos Prize for fiction. Cloudsplitter was purported to have been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction that eventually went to Michael Cunningham's The Hours. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996.
Many have admired Russell Banks' form of realistic writing. His writing oftentimes complements and/or explores modern American ways. Reviewers have written appreciately of his portrayal of the working-class people, struggling to overcome some of the issues they are faced with such as destructive relationships, poverty, drug abuse, and spiritual confusion. Banks has been acclaimed for his strong-spirited characters and narrators. Scholars have variously compared Banks's fiction to the works of Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, and Andre Dubus. Christine Benvenuto has commented that “Banks writes with an intensely focused empathy and a compassionate sense of humor that help to keep readers, if not his characters, afloat through the misadventures and outright tragedies of his books.” 
Awards and honors 
- 1985 John Dos Passos Prize
- 1996 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- 2012 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, shortlist, Lost Memory of Skin
- Searching for Survivors (1975)
- Family Life (1975)
- Hamilton Stark (1978)
- The Book of Jamaica (1980)
- The Relation of My Imprisonment (1983)
- Continental Drift (1985)
- Affliction (1989)
- The Sweet Hereafter (1991)
- Rule of the Bone (1995)
- Cloudsplitter (1998)
- The Darling (2004)
- The Reserve (2008)
- Lost Memory of Skin (2011)
- Story collections
- The New World (1978)
- Trailerpark (1981)
- Success Stories (1986)
- The Angel on the Roof (2000)
- The Fish
- "Quick Facts -- UNC News Services".
- "Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Award Recipients".
- "Website of New York State Writers Institute".
- "Russell Banks - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up)". Student Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- "Interview: Russell Banks". IdentityTheory.com. January 18, 2005. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
- "Russell Banks". The Steven Barclay Agency. © 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
- Burns and Hunter, Tom and Jeffery W. "Russell Banks". Retrieved 23 October 2011.
- Neal Wyatt (May 21, 2012). "Wyatt’s World: The Carnegie Medals Short List". Library Journal. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Russell Banks|
- Russell Banks reads his short story "The Moor" on This American Life
- Russell Banks Papers at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin
- Essay on Banks' short stories
- Robert Faggen (Summer 1998). "Russell Banks, The Art of Fiction No. 152". Paris Review.
- Author interview in Guernica Magazine (Guernicamag.com)
- Interview March, 2008
- Interview with Russell Banks when "The Darling" was published