Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  William Maxwell  

Pen Name: None


Born: August 16, 1908 in Lincoln, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Maxwell was born in Lincoln and moved to Chicago with his family after high school. He attended University of Illinois in Champaign and after graduate school he returned to the University of Illinois to spend two years on the English faculty.

Biographical and Professional Information

William Keepers Maxwell was an American novelist, short story writer and editor. He explored his Illinois childhood in a series of novels and short story collections, including Bright Center of Heaven (1934), They Came Like Swallows (1937), The Folded Leaf (1945) and So Long, See You Tomorrow (1980). Maxwell is sometimes called a "writer's writer", who has never had extraordinary commercial success but is highly respected by other writers for his craftsmanship and power. He also nurtured other developing writers as a longtime fiction editor for the New Yorker.William Maxwell, throughout a long residence in New York, has continued to explore his Illinois childhood in Lincoln and Chicago in a series of novels and short-story collections. He taught freshman compostion at the University of Illinois and later became an associate editor of the New Yorker magazine. He was the fiction editor of The New Yorker magazine for forty years (1936-1975).

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- * Name engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures, 1990