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E.L. Doctorow, Master of Historical Fiction, Dies at 84

E.L. Doctorow, one of America’s greatest writers, has died. He was 84 years old and passed away from lung cancer complications on June 21 in Manhattan.

Doctorow was known for his works of historical fiction. His best known novel is Ragtime, a 1975 novel set in pre-war New York City, which was adapted into a popular musical. He also wrote Billy Bathgate, The March, World’s Fair, and Welcome to Hard Times, among other novels.

The author was born in the Bronx and attended Kenyon College in Ohio. He briefly studied at Columbia University as a graduate student before being drafted into the army and serving on the German front during World War II.

He returned to the New York area after the war and eventually published Welcome to Hard Times, a dark and brilliant work of historical fiction set in the West. Doctorow published a dozen novels in his career. His last was 2014’s Andrew’s Brain. At the time of his death, Doctorow was splitting his time between Manhattan and the Long Island town of Sag Harbor.

Doctorow’s many accolades include the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the PEN/Saul Bellow Award. He also produced essays, plays, short stories, and photographs.

Read The New York Times’ obituary of Doctorow here

Image courtesy of Ruth Fremson/The New York Times