Another Look: William Kennedy's "Billy Phelan's Greatest Game”

Sponsored by Humanities Center, Continuing Studies, Another Look Book Club


Friday, February 26, 2021
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
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Another Look: William Kennedy's "Billy Phelan's Greatest Game” – a Zoom webinar

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Pulitzer prizewinning novelist William Kennedy has been called the Bard of Albany, but he began his career as a reporter. After a stint in the military and in Puerto Rico, he returned to his hometown, and saw the city of his birth with new eyes: “Without a sense of place, you don't, as a writer, have very much. Place is all those forces of a given society impinging upon and determining character. Without it, a book becomes bloodless.”

According to Stanford's Tobias Wolff, who will lead the discussion: “Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game belongs to William Kennedy's celebrated Albany sequence of novels. Set during the Depression, it concerns a young gambler and bookie, the Billy of the title, who suffers a setback that compels him to embark on an odyssey – and I use that word advisedly – through the demimonde of his city, during which he encounters temptations and dangers that test his resolve to the limit. There are gangsters, there is a kidnapping, but at its core this novel is about character, and what this man will do and endure to preserve his honor.”

Like all our events, it is free and available to the public. Register for the event with the RSVP link at left.  And check out The Los Angeles Review of Books for Cynthia Haven's Q&A interview with our featured author, William Kennedy, discussing his life and, in particular, Billy Phelan's Greatest Game:

This event is sponsored by the Stanford Continuing Studies Program, the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute, and the Stanford Humanities Center.

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