Nelson Algren

One of the most neglected of American writers and also one of the best loved, NELSON ALGREN (1909–1981) once wrote that “literature is made upon any occasion that a challenge is put to the legal apparatus by conscience in touch with humanity.” His powerful voice rose out of the urban wilderness of postwar Chicago, and he returned there over and over, eventually transforming his “lower depths” into something the whole world could understand. Recipient of the first National Book Award for fiction and lauded by Hemingway as “one of the two best authors in America,” Algren remains one of our most defiant and indomitable novelists, with a body of work that includes five major novels, two short fiction collections, a book-length poem, and several collections of reportage.