Madison Smartt Bell

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Madison Smartt Bell (born August 1, 1957 Nashville, Tennessee) is an American novelist. He is known for his trilogy of novels about Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution, published 1995–2004.

Early life and education[edit]

Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Madison Smartt Bell lived in New York City, and London before settling in Baltimore, Maryland. He is a graduate of Princeton University, where he won the Ward Mathis Prize and the Francis Leymoyne Page award, and Hollins University, where he won the Andrew James Purdy fiction award.[1]


Bell is a Professor of English at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, where he was Director of the Creative Writing Program from 1998 to 2004.[2]

Bell has taught in various creative writing programs, including the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y, and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars.

In addition, he has written essays and reviews for Harper's,[3] The New York Review of Books,[4] the New York Times Book Review.[5]

His papers are held at Princeton.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Bell is married to the poet Elizabeth Spires. They have a daughter, Celia Dovell Bell.[7]



  • The Washington Square Ensemble (novel) (Viking Press, 1983) (Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1984)
  • Waiting For The End Of The World (novel) (Ticknor & Fields, 1985) (Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1986)
  • Straight Cut (novel) (Ticknor & Fields, 1986) (Penguin mass-market paperback, 1987) (re-issued by Hard Case Crime in 2006)
  • Zero db (short fiction) (Ticknor & Fields, 1987) (Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1988)
  • The Year Of Silence (novel) (Ticknor & Fields, 1987) (Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1989)
  • Soldier's Joy (novel) (Ticknor & Fields, 1989) (Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1990)
  • Barking Man (short fiction) (Ticknor & Fields, 1990) (Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1991) (Quality Paperback Club, 1991)
  • Doctor Sleep (novel) (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991) (Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1992)(adapted for film as "Close Your Eyes" (2002))
  • Save Me, Joe Louis (novel) (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993) (Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1994)
  • All Souls' Rising (novel) (Pantheon, 1995) (Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1996)
  • Ten Indians (novel) (Pantheon, 1996) (Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1997)
  • Narrative Design: A Writer's Guide to Structure (textbook) (W.W. Norton, 1997)
  • Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form (trade paperback edition) (Norton, 2000)
  • Master of the Crossroads (novel, continuation of All Souls' Rising) (Pantheon, 2000)
  • Anything Goes (Pantheon, 2002)
  • The Stone That the Builder Refused (novel, continuation of Master of the Crossroads) (Pantheon, released Nov 9, 2004)
  • Lavoisier in the Year One: The Birth of a New Science in an Age of Revolution (nonfiction) (Norton, released June 13, 2005)
  • Freedom's Gate: A Brief Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture (non-fiction) (Pantheon, 2007)
  • Charm City (Crown: 2007)
  • Devil's Dream (novel about Nathan Bedford Forrest and the American Civil War) (Pantheon, 2009)
  • The Color of Night (Vintage, 2011)
  • Zig Zag Wanderer (Concord Free Press, 2013)
  • Behind the Moon (City Lights Publishers, 2017)


  1. ^ "Princeton Alumni Weekly: Features Web Exclusives". Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Madison Smartt Bell", Goucher faculty
  3. ^ "Madison Smartt Bell". Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Madison Smartt Bell - The New York Review of Books". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Haiti in Ink and Tears: A Literary Sampler". The New York Times. 17 January 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Madison Smartt Bell Papers (C0771) -- Madison Smartt Bell Papers". Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Seniors to be initiated into Phi Beta Kappa". Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2010-03-20.

External links[edit]