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Russell Banks, Novelist Who Wrote About Criminals, Outcasts and Revolutionaries, Dies at 82

HeadlineJan 17, 2023

The acclaimed novelist Russell Banks has died of cancer at the age of 82. Banks was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, known for drawing on his working-class background to write about criminals, outcasts and revolutionaries. His books “Rule of the Bone,” “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Affliction” were adapted into feature films, and his 1998 historical novel “Cloudsplitter” focuses on the revolutionary abolitionist John Brown. Russell Banks spoke to Democracy Now! in 2011 about John Brown’s life and legacy.

Russell Banks: “Brown sort of stood at that crossroads of religion and violence in the American imagination, and righteous wrath, if you will, or principled violence. And he was our homegrown terrorist, but he was a terrorist for a cause that certainly today we’re universally in support of, which is the ending of slavery. And so, his story is still a very complicated one for most Americans.”

Click here to see our full interview with Russell Banks in 2011.

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