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William Maxwell was born in 1908 in Lincoln, Illinois. He studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and after earning a master's at Harvard, returned there to teach freshman composition before turning to writing. He published six novels, three collections of short fiction, an autobiographical memoir, a collection of literary essays and reviews, and a book for children. For 40 years, he was a fiction editor at The New Yorker. From 1969 to 1972 he was president of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He received the Brandeis Creative Arts Award Medal and, for So Long, See You Tomorrow, the American Book Award and the Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He died in 2000.