“E.L. Doctorow, a leading figure in contemporary American letters whose popular, critically admired and award-winning novels — including ‘Ragtime,’ ‘Billy Bathgate’ and ‘The March’ — situated fictional characters in recognizable historical contexts, among identifiable historical figures and often within unconventional narrative forms, died on Tuesday in Manhattan,” writes Bruce Weber on the website of The New York Times.
Doctorow, 84, died of lung cancer. He was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1931.
Weber continues, “The author of a dozen novels, three volumes of short fiction and a stage drama, as well as essays and commentary on literature and politics, Mr. Doctorow was widely lauded for the originality, versatility and audacity of his imagination.”
On Doctorow’s official website it says “Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN Faulkner Awards, The Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction and the presidentially-conferred National Humanities Medal. In 2009 he was short listed for the Man Booker International Prize honoring a writer’s lifetime achievement in fiction, and in 2012 he won the PEN Saul Bellow Award given to an author whose ‘scale of achievement over a sustained career places him in the highest rank of American Literature.’ In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Fiction.”
According to Time magazine, Doctorow’s 1975 novel, “Ragtime,” ”was included on a list of 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library in 1999 and on a list of the 100 greatest English-language novels since 1923 by Time magazine in 2010.”
The Broadway musical adaptation of “Ragtime,” – not done by Doctorow – won Tonys for Best Book and Best Score.
The movie version of the non-musical “Ragtime” – again, not adapted by Doctorow – was nominated for eight Academy Awards.
From YouTube, here’s Doctorow’s speech upon accepting the 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters: