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Madison Smartt Bell


Madison Smartt Bell was born in Nashville in 1957. His parents – he was an only child – had dropped out and planned to run a farm in Franklin, near Nashville. The farm motif will occur throughout his writing. He started writing when he was recovering from a collapsed lung in his senior year in high school. He took up writing again while at Princeton, aided by George Garrett. After spending some time in New York in the film and television industry, he went to Hollins College, under George Garrett, to get his MFA. It was there that he started the novel that would become The Washington Square Ensemble. Since then he has published a series of novels, typified by his main characters getting involved in religious or semi-religious philosophies, practicing martial arts, being solitary and involving violence, often in the environment of drug dealing and the like. However, while he was initially hailed as having a great future, in recent years, his production has slowed, with non-fiction being his main output. It is likely that history will remember him as an interesting writer of his time but not one who is likely to make a big impact on the world of literature in the twentieth-first century. He now teaches at Goucher College along with his wife, the poet Elizabeth Spires.

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Madison Smartt Bell
Madison Smartt Bell
Madison Smartt Bell
Madison Smartt Bell
Madison Smartt Bell
Madison Smartt Bell
About Madison Smartt Bell
Haiti in Ink and Tears: A Literary Sampler (article by Bell)
Haiti must call on survival spirit (article by Bell)


1983 The Washington Square Ensemble (novel)
1985 Waiting for the End of the World (novel)
1986 Straight Cut (novel)
1987 The Year of Silence (novel)
1987 Zero db and Other Stories
1988 The History Of The Owen Graduate School Of Management
1989 Soldier’s Joy (novel)
1990 Barking Man and Other Stories
1991 Doctor Sleep (novel)
1993 Save Me, Joe Louis (novel)
1995 All Souls’ Rising (novel)
1996 Ten Indians (novel)
1997 Narrative Design: A Writer’s Guide to Structure
2000 Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form
2000 Master of the Crossroads (novel)
2002 Anything Goes (novel)
2004 The Stone That the Builder Refused (novel)
2005 Lavoisier in the Year One: The Birth of a New Science in an Age of Revolution
2007 Toussaint Louverture: A Biography
2007 Charm City: A Walk Through Baltimore
2009 Devil’s Dream (novel)
2011 The Color of Night (novel)
2011 Boy with a Coin (Kindle story)
2013 Zig Zag Wanderer (stories)
2017 Behind The Moon (novel)
2020 Child of Light: A Biography of Robert Stone