Advisory Council to the Board

William Joseph Kennedy

William Joseph Kennedy (born January 16, 1928) is an American writer and journalist born and raised in Albany, New York. Many of his novels feature the interaction of members of the fictional Irish-American Phelan family, and make use of incidents of Albany’s history and the supernatural. Kennedy’s works include The Ink Truck (1969), Legs (1975), Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game (1978), Ironweed (1983, winner of 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; film, 1987), and Roscoe (2002).

He is a graduate of Siena College in Loudonville, New York and currently resides at Averill Park, a hamlet about 16 miles east of Albany. After serving in the Army, Kennedy lived in Puerto Rico where he met his mentor, Saul Bellow, who encouraged him to write novels. While living in San Juan, he befriended journalist/author Hunter S. Thompson, a friendship that continued throughout their careers. Kennedy, who had previously been anxious to leave Albany, returned to his hometown and worked for the Albany Times Union as an investigative journalist writing stories exposing activities of the O’Connell political machine. His use of Albany as the setting for seven of his novels has drawn comparison to James Joyce’s use of Dublin.

Colum McCann

Colum McCann is the author of five novels and two collections of stories.  His most recent novel “Let the Great World Spin” won the National Book Award in 2009.  He was nominated for an Oscar in 2005 for the short film “Everything in this Country Must,” directed by Gary McKendry.  Colum’s work is published in over 30 languages.

Dr. Thomas F. Staley

Director of the Ransom Center at The University of Texas

Dr. Thomas F. Staley is Director of the Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin, where he is also Professor of English and holds The Harry Huntt Ransom Chair in Liberal Arts.

Staley has written or edited thirteen books on James Joyce, Italo Svevo, modern British women novelists, including Jean Rhys and Dorothy Richardson, and modern literature in general. His critical articles on a wide range of subjects have appeared in journals in this country and abroad. He has been the chairman or co-chairman of four international James Joyce symposia in Dublin and Trieste, and is a board member and former president of the James Joyce Foundation. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Trieste in 1966 and again in 1971. Among his most recent books are An Annotated Critical Bibliography of James Joyce (1989), an edited edition of The Paris Diaries of Stuart Gilbert (1993), and Writing the Lives of Writers (1998).

Staley is the founding editor of the James Joyce Quarterly, which he edited for 26 years. In 1990, he initiated Joyce Studies Annual, published under the auspices of the Ransom Center at The University of Texas Press.  He currently edits a series on literary modernism at The University of Texas Press. He has written and spoken widely in the United States and Europe on literary subjects, libraries, the state of the humanities in contemporary culture, and, more recently, the building of modern library collections.