Last week E.L. Doctorow, one of the most important American novelists of the 20th century, passed away at the age of 84. Doctorow was a master whose works of fiction, from Ragtime and The Book of Daniel to Billy Bathgate and The March, span centuries, taking readers into many eras of the American experience, and from the Great Plains to the Adirondacks, from the Deep South to New York City while illuminating social and political issues.
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 for Achievement in American Fiction. In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Fiction.