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Madison Smartt Bell

Portrait d'un Ecrivain


Guidel Présumé


Madison Smartt Bell is the author of thirteen novels, including The Washington Square Ensemble (1983), Waiting for the End of the World (1985), Straight Cut (1986), The Year of Silence (1987), Doctor Sleep (1991), Save Me, Joe Louis (1993), Ten Indians (1997)  and Soldier's Joy, which received the Lillian Smith Award in 1989.  Bell has also published two collections of short stories: Zero db (1987) and Barking Man (1990).  In 2002, the novel Doctor Sleep was adapted as a film, Close Your Eyes, starring Goran Visnjic, Paddy Considine, and Shirley Henderson.  Forty Words For Fear, an album of songs co-written by Bell and  Wyn Cooper and inspired by the novel Anything Goes,was released by Gaff Music in 2003; other performers include Don Dixon, Jim Brock, Mitch Easter and Chris Frank. 

Bell's eighth novel, All Soul's Rising, was a finalist for the 1995 National Book Award and the 1996 PEN/Faulkner Award and winner of the 1996 Anisfield-Wolf award for the best book of the year dealing with matters of race. All Souls Rising, along with the second and third novels of his Haitian Revolutionary trilogy, Master of the Crossroads and The Stone That The Builder Refused, is available in a uniform edition from Vintage Contemporaries.  Toussaint Louverture A Biography was published by Pantheon in 2007.  Devil's Dream ,a novel based on the career of Confederate Cavalry General Nathan Bedford Forrest, was published by Pantheon in 2009.  Bell's latest novel, The Color of  Night, appeared from Vintage Contemporaries in April 2011.   

Born and raised in Tennessee, he has lived in New York and in London and now lives in Baltimore, Maryland. A graduate of Princeton University (A.B 1979) and Hollins College (M.A. 1981), he has taught in various creative writing programs, including theIowa Writers' Workshop and the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. Since 1984 he has taught in the Goucher College Creative Program, where he is currently Professor of English, along with his wife, the poet Elizabeth Spires.  Bell served as Director of the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College from 1999 to 2008.  In 2008 he received the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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coming soon....

Haiti: Aftershocks of History, Laurent Dubois reviewed by Madison Smartt Bell


Angela Zumpe Williamsburg Walk


mister potatohead in love




Toussaint Louverture: A Biography

The Day My Keys Didn't Want to Leave Home



Forty Words For Fear

Small Blue Thing (short story)  

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Anything Goes (novel)


Master of the Crossroads

Master of the Crossroads

Soul In A Bottle

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Kat Rèv Nan Haiti

a fine press book from

Widgets & Stone

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Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form


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   Paintings from the North of Haiti

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            Kochon Kreyol: a story in pictures

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Waiting for the End of the World



Profile by Wyn Cooper
Environmentalist Diatribe
Autobiographical Essay
Interview with Justin Cronin
Interview with Matthias Penzel
Interview with Matthias Penzel (German)
Selection #1 from All Souls' Rising
Selection #2 from All Souls' Rising
Selection from Doctor Sleep
Selection from Barking Man
Selection from Save Me Joe Louis
Selection from Narrative Design
Zigzag Wanderer (short story)
Prologue to Ten Indians
Chapter One from Ten Indians
Miroir Danjere
Description of the Goucher College Creative Writing Program







The Washington Square Ensemble (novel) Viking Press, 1983

Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1984


Waiting For The End Of The World (novel) Ticknor & Fields, 1985

Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1986


Straight Cut (novel) Ticknor & Fields, 1986

Penguin mass-market paperback, 1987

Leisure/Hardcase paperback, 2006


Zero db (short fiction) Ticknor & Fields, 1987

Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1988


The Year Of Silence (novel) Ticknor & Fields, 1987

Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1989


Soldier's Joy (novel) Ticknor & Fields, 1989

Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1990


Barking Man (short fiction) Ticknor & Fields, 1990

Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1991


Doctor Sleep (novel) Harcourt Brace & Jovanovich, 1991

Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1992

Grove Press (paperback, 2003)


Save Me, Joe Louis (novel) Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993

Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1994


All Souls' Rising (novel) Pantheon Books, 1995

Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1996

Vintage Books, 2004


Ten Indians (novel) Pantheon, 1996

Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 1997


Narrative Design: A Writer's Guide to Structure (textbook), W.W. Norton, 1997.


Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form (trade paperback edition)  Norton, 2000


Master of the Crossroads (novel), Pantheon, 2000

Penguin Contemporary American Fiction Series, 2001

Vintage Books, 2004


Anything Goes (novel), Pantheon Books, 2002


The Stone that the Builder Refused (novel) Pantheon Books 2004

Vintage Books 2006 (paperback edition)


Lavoisier in the Year One: The Birth of a New Science in an Age of Revolution (biography) (New York: Norton /Atlas Books, 2005.


Toussaint Louverture: A Biography ,Pantheon Books, 2007

Vintage books 2008 (paperback edition)


Charm City: A Walk through Baltimore (nonfiction) Crown, 2007


Devil’s Dream (novel) forthcoming from Pantheon, November 2009


anthology publications :


Intro 9: Close to Home: Triptych," (Hendel & Reinke, 1978)

Best American Short Stories 1984: "The Naked Lady," (Houghton Mifflin, 1984)

The Best of Intro: "Triptych," (Associated Writing Programs, 1985)

New Stories from the South: "Triptych 2," (Algonquin Books, 1986)

The Editors' Choice (v. 3): "Zero db," (Bantam Books, 1986)

Homewords: "The Day I Shot My Dog," (University of Tennessee Press, 1986)

The New Writers of the South: "Monkey Park," (University of Georgia Press, 1987)

Oral Interpretation: "The Naked Lady," (Houghton Mifflin, 1987)

Best American Short Stories 1987: "The Lie Detector," (Houghton Mifflin, 1987)

Louder Than Words: "Finding Natasha," (Random House, 1989)

Best American Short Stories 1989: "Customs of The Country" (Houghton Mifflin, 1989)

New Stories from the South: "Customs of the Country," (Algonquin Books, 1989)

Amerika Porteller: "Customs of the Country," (1990?  an anthology of 30 U.S. short stories published in Norway -- Den Norske Bokklubben)

Voices In Fiction and Non Fiction: "Witness," (with notes)  (The Long Ridge Writers Group, Danbury CT, 1990)

Words on the Page, the World in Your Hands  "Getting Involved," (adapted from "I Love New York," Eds. Lipkin & Solotaroff, Harper & Row, 1990, v. 2)

Best American Short Stories: 1990: "Finding Natasha" (Houghton Mifflin 1990)

The Literary Dog: Great Contemporary Dog Stories: "Black and Tan" (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990)

Literary Outtakes: chapter from Soldier's Joy, Ed. Larry Dark, Fawcett 1990

The Sound of Writing: "Mister Potatohead in Love," (Doubleday/Anchor 1991)

A Pocket Full of Prose: "Dragon's Seed," (Holt Rinehart & Winston,  1991)

The Wedding Cake In The Middle Of The Road: "Pawnshop," (Norton, 1992)

Elvis In Oz: "At Sea," University of Virginia Press, 1992

Das Grosse Lesebuch Der Wilden Manner: "Die Nachte Lady" (translation of The Naked Lady) Goldmann Verlag (Germany), 1992

That's What I Like About The South: "Hammerhead," (Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1993)

Inside, Outside '93: "Today Is A Good Day To Die (Snake Nation Press, 1992)

Legal Fictions: "Witness" (Overlook Press, 1992)

Sommer, Sonne, Sand und mehr...: "I Love New York" German translation (Goldmann Verlag, 1994)

Sudden Fiction: "The Naked Lady," (Norton, 1996)

Genesis: As It Is Written: "The Days of Creation" (commentary) (Harper-Collins, 1996

A Goyen Companion: "A Memory of William Goyen" (University of Texas Press, 1997)

Outside the Law: "True Morality," (Beacon Press, 1997)

Truyen ngan My duong Dai: "Tap Tuc Mot Vung Dat" (translation of "Customs of the Country") Vietnamese edition ed. by Wayne Karlin, Nha Xuat ban Van hoc, 1997

Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited: "A Love Supreme" (commentary) (Little Brown, 1997, eds. Rick Moody and Darcey Steinke)

It's Only Rock and Roll: "Never Mind" (Boston: Godine, 1998)

The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, eds. Richard Bausch and R.V. Cassill: "Witness" (New York: Norton, 2000)

The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction: "Customs of the Country" eds. Lex Williford and Michael Martone (New York: Scribner, 1999)

 Literary Nashville, ed. Patrick Allen (Hill Street Press, 2000)

 Three Minutes or Less: Life Lessons from America's Greatest Writers :"Confession" (New York: Bloomsbury, 2000)

The Cry of an Occasion: Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, ed. Richard Bausch: "The Naked Lady" (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001)

Weavings 2000: The Maryland Millenial Anthology, ed. Michael S. Glaser: "Dragon's Seed" (St. Mary's City: Forest Woods Media, 2000) Contemporary Authors volume 183: "Our Dogs" (autobiographical essay), (Detroit: Gale Group, 2000)[1]

New Stories from the South: 2001-the Year's Best, ed. Shannon Ravenel: "Two Lives" (short story), (Chapel: Hill:Algonquin Books, 2001)

Novel History: Historians and Novelists Confront America's Past, ed. Mark Carnes: "Engaging the Past" (essay), (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001)

The Greenwich Village Reader, ed. June Skinner Sawyers: excerpt from The Washington Square Ensemble (New York: Cooper Square Press, 2001)

Mitä Ukkenon Todella Sanoi , ed. Artur Virtanen (Osakeyhtiö: Werner Söderström, 2001) "Pakko löytää Natasha" (translation of short story "Finding Natasha")

La Generación encontrada: Cuentos estadounidenses contemporános, ed. Beatriz Escalante and James Ramey (Villa Quietud, Mexico: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 2002)—“La mujer desnuda” Spanish translation of short story “The Naked Lady”

Gestschichten für Männer (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 2003)—“Die nackte Lady” German translation of  short story “The Naked Lady”

The Best American Travel Writing, 2005, ed. Jamaica Kincaid (New York: Houghton Mifflin 2005) “Mine of Stones.”

Twice Told Children’s Tales: The Influence of Childhood Reading on Writers for Adults, ed. Betty Greenaway: (New York: Routledge 2005) “A Child’s Eye Reading of Mark Twain.”

Literature and Ourselves: a Thematic Introduction for Readers and Writers, fifth edition, eds. Henderson, Day & Waller (New York: Pearson Longman, 2006) “Customs of the Country”

The Best Dog Stories, ed. Paul D. Staudohar (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2007) “Black and Tan”

High 5ive: An Anthology of Fiction from Ten Years of Five Points, ed. Megan Sexton (New York: Carroll & Graf 2006) “Parallel Lines”

The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books e. Peder Zane (New York: Norton 2007) list  Haïti par Monts et par Mots: Un Atlas Littéraire (Port-au-Prince: Éditions Étonnants Voyageurs, 2009) “Morne Rouge”







periodical publications:


Antaeus:                                              "Finding Natasha," Spring 1989

Atlantic:                                               "Black and Tan," February 1990

Boulevard:                                           "Holding Together," Fall 1988

                                                            "Dragon's Seed," Fall 1990?

Cosmopolitan (British edition):             "Monkey Park," November 1987

Harper's:                                              "The Naked Lady," October 1984

                                                            "Zero db," August 1985

                                                            "Customs of the Country," February 1988

                                                            "Witness," January 1990

"Small Blue Thing" June 2000

“The Mine of Stones” January 2004     

Playboy                                               “The Weight of the Moon,” August 2005

Esquire                                                                                    “The Napkin” (short story) February 2007

Hudson Review:                                    "Monkey Park," Vol. 38 #1, Spring 1985

                                                            "The Moon Will Be Bleeding," Vol. 41 #4, Winter 1989

Literary Review (London):                     "Zero db," October 1985

North American Review:                        "World Without End," September 1987

The Reading Room:

Writing of the Moment:                      "Master of the Crossroads" (novel excerpt)  #1 (2000)


Switch:                                                 "Monkey Park," (Japanese translation), 1987

                                                            "Zero db," (Japanese translation), 1988

Crescent Review                         "The Naked Lady," (Vol. 1 No. 1, 1983)

                                                            "Triptych 2," (Vol. 2, No. 2, Fall 1984)

                                                            "The Lie Detector," (Vol 4., No. 2, Fall 1986)

                                                            "Beggarman, Thief," (Vol 5, No. 1, 1987)

Columbia                                            "Irene," (no. 7, 1982)

                                                            "The Year of Silence," (no. 12, 1987)

Witness                                                            "The Forgotten Bridge," (vol. 1, no. 1, Spring 1987)

Stories                                                 "Feast of the Assumption," (No. 18, 1987)

Greensboro Review                         "I've Got a Secret," (No. 42, Summer 1987)

Lowlands Review                         "The Structure and Meaning of DFS," (no. 8, 1979)

Poughkeepsie Review                         "The Girl in the Black Raincoat," (Summer 1987)

Green Mountains Review             "I Love New York" (no. 13, Spring 1984)

Tennessee Illustrated                                "Last Go-Round," (Vol. 2, No. 1, January/ February 1989)

America Illustrated                                "Black and Tan," (1990?)

The Russian language magazine

of the U.S. Information Agency

Story                                                    "Cash Machine," spring, 1991

Vox                                                      "Pawnshop," Vol I, No. 1, spring 1991

Northwest Review                         "Barking Man," volume 28, #1

Gentlemen's Quarterly                     "Summertime," August 1992

Witness                                                "The Life of Georgie," Vol. VI # 1 1992

Ploughshares                                      "The Rights Of Man," Vol. 19 # 4, Winter 1993-94

Boulevard                                            "A Consummation,"  Vol. 9 # 1&2, Spring 1994

Witness                                                "Blood Harvest," Vol. VIII #1, 1994

Southern Review                         "The Dead," Vol. 30, #2, Spring 1994

Image                                                  "I am Not I," #10, Summer 1995

Flyway                                                            "A Barbecue," Vol. 1-1 Spring 1995

Agni Review                                        "In The Camps," #42, Fall 1995

Columbia                                            "Confession," #21, 1993

North American Review             "Hill Country," Vol 279, #4, July/August 1995

Antaeus                                               "Three Lovers," #73/74 Spring 1994

Boulevard                                            "Happy Families Are All Alike" (filmscript-- collaboration                                                     with Andrew Moore)  # 31 & 32, Spring 1996

New Millenium                                "Mistress And Maid" Vol. 1, #1, Spring & Summer 1996

Granta                                                            "Waiting For The General"  #54, Summer 1996

Image                                                  "I Am Not I," #10, 1995

Conjunctions                                       Prologue from The War of Knives," #27, 1996

“Two Kingdoms”# 41 Winter 2003

Gulf Coast                                          "I Ain't Blue", Volume VIII # 2 1996

Chattahoochee Review                      "Mister Jones" (memoir), Volume XVII #1

Widener Review                         "Zig Zag Wanderer" Vol 11, 1997

Creative Nonfiction                               "Sa'm Pèdi" (nonfiction essay)  # 9, 1998

Washington Post Book World              "Guided By Voices" (nonfiction essay)  May 10, 1998

Creative Nonfiction                               "Action de Grace" (nonfiction essay) 10, 1998

The Oxford American                                 "Leadbelly in Paris" (short story)  #27 & 28, Summer 1999

Creative Nonfiction                               "Soul in a Bottle" (essay) # 14, 2000

Meridian                                              "Two Lives" (short story) # 5, Spring 2000

The Reading Room:

Writing of the Moment                       "Master of the Crossroads" (novel excerpt) # 1, 2000

Virginia Quarterly Review                        "Whose God to Follow" (novel excerpt) V. 26 #4, Autumn 2000

The Idaho Review                                    "Bonne Route, Blanc" (novel excerpt) V. 3, 2001

Gulf Coast                                                                              "Two Fathers"  (novel excerpt) V.XIII, #1, Winter 2001

New England Review                                    "Labor" (novel excerpt) V. 21, #4, Fall 2000

Five Points                                          "The Prisoner in the Fort de Joux" (novel excerpt) V. 5, #1,                                           Fall 2000

Washington Post                                    "Top of the World" (short story) Travel section, November 12, 2000

Daedalus: Journal of the

 American Academy

of Arts and Sciences,                                  “Petrified Forest" (short story) Summer 2002

Rattapallax                                          “Fall on Me” short (short story) 2004

Playboy                                               “The Weight of the Moon,” (short story) August 2005

Baltimore Magazine,                                “Baltimore Falls” (short story) September 2005

Illuminations                                       “Vanishing Sky” (short story)   Issue 22 August 2006

Esquire                                                                                    “The Napkin” (short story) February 2007




essays and book reviews:


Antaeus:  "Literature and Pleasure: Bridging the Gap," #59, September 1987

Chronicles:  "An Interview with George Garrett," June 1988;  "An Interview with Andrew Lytle," September 1988

Harper's:  "Less Is Less: The Dwindling American Short Story," April 1986

Switch:  "Less Is Less," (Japanese translation), 1988

Rediscoveries II:  "Do, Lord, Remember Me," (Carroll & Graf, 1988)

Columbia:  "Throwing Dirt on the Grave of Minimalism," (Panel Discussion, No. 14, 1989)

Chronicles:  "Time and the Tide in the Southern Short Story," March 1991

The World and I:  "Blood and Guts in the Bookstore" (critical essay) April 1992

Chattahoochee Review:  "An Essay Introducing His Work In Rather A Lunatic Fashion," Vol xii # 1, Fall 1991

Manoa:  "Book-Reviewing For Better or Worse," Vol 3, #2, Fall 1991

Critical Preface to A Wake For The Living, by Andrew Lytle (J.S. Sanders & Co. 1992)

Critical Essays On Peter Taylor:  "The Mastery of Peter Taylor" (G.K. Hall, 1993)

"Where an Author Might Be Standing" (essay on William Vollman), The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Volume 13, no. 2, Summer 1993

"The Short Story Revival (Or Whatever It Was): An Impressionistic History and Diatribe" Mississippi Review, vol 21, Numbers 1 & 2

"A Memory of William Goyen," Mid-American Review, Volume 13, no. 1, 1992

The Craft of Peter Taylor, C. Ralph Stephens and Linda B. Salamon (eds.), "Two Audiences for Emmagene," (Univ of Alabama Press, 1995)

Hudson Review, "Miroir Danjere," Winter 1996, vol xlviii # 4

George, "The 20 Most Fascinating Women in Politics" (profile of Carolyn Chute), September 1996

Esquire, "Virgin Maryland," July 1996

New York Times Magazine, "Bar, None" (LIVES section), March 3, 1996

Preface to The King of Babylon Shall Not Come Against You by George Garrett (Harvest/Harcourt Brace, 1997)

Myth, Legend, Dust: Critical responses to Cormac McCarthy, ed. Rick Wallach: "A Writer's View of Cormac McCarthy" (New York and Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000)

Introduction to God's Country (novel) by Percival Everett (Boston: Beacon Press, 2003)

A Certain Somewhere: Writers on the Places They Remember, ed. Robert Wilson (New York: Random House, 2002): "The Fire This Time" (essay).

Conversations with Mary Gordon, ed. Alma Bennett (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2002) "The Writing Life: Madison Smartt Bell hosts Mary Gordon" (interview)

Los Angeles Times, “A Wave that Washes Over All Haitians” February 12 2004

Twice Told Children’s Tales: The Influence of Childhood Reading on Writers for Adults, ed.

 Betty Greenaway: (New York: Routledge 2005) “A Child’s Eye Reading of Mark Twain.”

The Oxford American Issue 53, Winter 2006—“Emerging Southern Writers: John McManus”

The Los Angeles Times March 31 2006 “Back Haiti or Back Off” (op-ed)

I giacobani negri by CLR James “Postfazione alla nuova edizione Italiana” (Rome: Derive Approdi 2006

Multitudes “Kreyol Pale Kreyol Konprann” issue 22 Automne 2005

Journal of Haitian Studies “Toussaint Between Two Worlds” (essay) v. 11 #2, Fall 2005

Bomb   “Judith Linhares” (interview) #97 Fall 2006

Polite “Pastisomane” (feuilleton) Spring 2007

Preface to Eimi by E.E. Cummings (New York : Norton 2007)

Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism Discussion of MSB’s Haitian trilogy (#23, 2007)

Oxforrd American, “A Juror’s Notes” (nonfiction) (#57, 2007)

The Chronicle Review (Chronicle of Higher Education) “George Garrett, the Great Encourager” (memoir) June 13, 2008

Book Forum: “Fiction and Politics” (comment) (Vol 15 issue 2, 2008)

Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, “Ba’m Dlo” (nonfiction) # 27 October 2008

Revue de la Société Haïtienne d’Histoire et de Géographie: “Souvenirs sur Gérard Barthélemy” (témoignage) 83e année # 236 Janvier-Juin 2009



Book reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, the Village Voice, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the London Standard, the North American Review, the L.A. Times Book Review, the Boston Globe, Southern Magazine, and others.



Girl With Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace, Washington Post, 1989

Lights Out in the Reptile House by Jim Sheperd, Washington Post 1990

The Other Side by Mary Gordon, New York Times Book Review, 1989

The Pilgrim's Rules of Etiquette by Taghi Modarressi,  Philadelphia Inquirer, 1989

The Rainbow Stories by William Vollman, Philadelphia Inquirer 1989

Caverns by O.U. Levon (Ken Kesey et. al.), Village Voice Literary Supplement) February 1990

The Salt Point by Paul Russell, Village Voice 1990

Many Things Have Happened Since He Died by Elizabeth Dewberry Vaughn,  Washington Post, 1990

My Life and Doctor Joyce Brothers by Kelly Cherry, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1990

Godchildren by Charles Casey Martin, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1990

The Homestead by Chilton Williamson, Chronicles, May 1990

The Music of Chance by Paul Auster, New York Times Book Review, fall 1990

The Second War by G.C. Hendricks, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 22, 1990

Two Girls, Fat and Thin by Mary Gaitskill, Boston Globe spring 1991

S.F.W by A.M. Wellman, Philadelphia Inquirer, spring 1991

Resuscitation of a Hanged Man by Denis Johnson, Philadelphia Inquirer, spring 1991

If Not Now, Then In Heaven, by Joel Redon, Philadelphia Inquirer, spring 1991

Complete Collected Stories, by V.S. Pritchett, Philadelphia Inquirer, Spring 1991

The Alchymist's Journal by Evan S. Connell, Boston Globe, spring 1991

Sweet Angel Band by R.M. Kinder, New York Times Book Review, 9/27/91

All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, New York Times Book Review, May 17, 1992

A Foreign Woman by Sergei Dovlatov, USA TODAY, August 23, 1991

An Afghanistan Picture Show by William Vollman, USA Today, August 13, 1992

Crystal River by Charlie Smith, Washington Post Book World, September 8, 1991

Fathers And Crows by William Vollman, Chicago Tribune, July 26, 1992

A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler, Chicago Tribune, February 23, 1992

The Unquiet Earth by Denise Giardina, Chicago Tribune, May 10, 1992

Mercy by Andrea Dworkin, Chicago Tribune, September 15, 1991

Whores For Gloria by William T. Vollman, Boston Globe, December 29, 1991

Talents and Technicians by John Aldridge, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 19, 1992

The Night Travelers by Elizabeth Spencer, Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 18, 1991

The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Baltimore Sun, September 27, 1992

Pilgrim In The Ruins: A Life Of Walker Percy by Jay Tolson, New York Times Book Review, November 15, 1992

The Collected Stories by William Trevor, USA Today, January 29, 1993

The Oracle at Stoneleigh Court by Peter Taylor, Baltimore Sun, February 14, 1993

Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson, USA Today, March 2, 1993

Cry Me A River by T.R. Pearson, Philadelphia Inquirer, January 10, 1993

Too Far From Home by Paul Bowles, Chicago Tribune, March 14, 1993

The Names of The Lost by Liza Wieland, USA Today, March 30, 1993

Notes From Underground by Eric Bogosian, Washington Post March 30, 1993

Sex Crimes, by Alice Vachss, Chicago Tribune, July 25, 1993

Sailor Song by Ken Kesey, Baltimore Sun, August 23, 1992

Bottoms Up, By Jeff Putnam, Philadelphia Inquirer, May 23, 1993

Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs, by William Vollmann, Philadelphia Inquirer, May 16, 1993.

Butterfly Stories, by William Vollmann, Chicago Tribune, November 28, 1993.

Poor Things, by Alasdair Gray, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 7, 1993.

On Fire by Larry Brown, New York Times Book Review, August 24, 1994

The Children in the Woods by Frederick Busch, Philadelphia Inquirer, February 6, 1994

A Way in the World by V.S. Naipaul, Chicago Tribune, May 29, 1994

Rule of the Bone by Russell Banks, Spin, June 1995

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon and The Information by Martin Amis, Spin, July 1995

Tales from the Geronimo by Scott Frank, Spin, August 1995

After Yesterday's Crash: The Avant Pop Anthology, ed Larry McCaffery, Spin, September 1995

The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven, by Rick Moody, Spin, October 1995

Junglee Girl by Ginu Kamani, Spin, November 1995

In the Cut by Susannah Moore, Spin, December 1995

Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh, Spin, February 1996

Death in the Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa, New York Times Book Review, February 18, 1996

The Names of the Dead by Stewart O'Nan, Boston Globe, March 3, 1996

Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie, Chicago Tribune, November 17, 1996

Le Divorce by Diane Johnson, Philadelphia Inquirer, February 9, 1997

Seven Tattoos by Peter Trachtenburg, Spin, May 1997

Long Way to Go: Black and White in America by Jonathan Coleman, Chicago Tribune, September 28, 1997

 "Mon Beau Rêve" (op-ed) The Haitian Times, March 1, 2000

City of God by E.L. Doctorow, Washington Post Book World, March 5, 2000

Second Hand by Michael Zadoorian, Chicago Tribune, February 20, 2000

The True History of Paradise  by Margaret Cezair-Thompson, New York Times Book Review, October 17, 1999

The Name of the World by Denis Johnson, Philadelphia Inquirier, July 23, 2000

Provinces of Night by William Gay, Washington Post Book World, January 14, 2000

The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte by Robert Asprey, Boston Globe, January 28, 2001

Hideous Dream  by Stan Goff, Chicago Tribune, April 8, 2001

The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa, Los Angeles Times Book Review, November 11. 2001

The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte by Robert Asprey, Boston Sunday Globe, December 16, 2001

Testimony of an Irish Slave Girl by Kate McCafferty, Boston Sunday Globe, March 10, 2002

Hollow Ground by Stephen Marion, Boston Sunday Globe, May 26, 2002

After the Dance: A Walk Through Carnival, by Edwidge Danticat, Washington Post Book World, August 28, 2002   

The Little Friend, by Donna Tartt, Chicago Tribune, November 10, 2002.

Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre, Boston Globe October 26 2003

Prince Edward by Dennis McFarland, Washington Post Book World August 14, 2004

March  by Geraldine Brooks, Baltimore Sun, March 13 2005

No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy, Book Forum, Summer 2005

The March, by E.L. Doctorow, Boston Globe, September 25, 2005

A Perfect Pledge, by Rabindranth Maharaj, Chicago Tribune October 2 2005

The Whale Caller, by Zakes Mda, New York Times Book Review, January 8, 2006

Wolf Boy by Evan Kuhlman, Boston Globe, July 16, 2006

Brief Encounters with Che Guevara by Ben Fountain, Boston Globe, July 30 2006

The Keep by Jennifer Egan, New York Times Book Review front page, July 30, 2006

Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida, New York Times Book Review, December 31 2006

Seizure, by Erica Wagner, New York Times Book Review April 8, 2007

Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life by Beverly Lowry, New York Times Book Review

Up High In The Trees by Kiara Brinkman, New York Times Book Review, July 29, 2007

The Night Birds by Thomas Maltman, Boston Globe, August 12, 2007

Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan, New York Review of Books, December 30, 2007

Song Yet Sung by James McBride, New York Times Book Review, March 2, 2008

The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 1, 2008

Massacre River by René Philoctète and ten other books by Haitian Writers, New York Review of Books, July 17, 2008

Vacation by Deb Olin Unferth, New York Times Book Review, November 23, 2008

Imperial by William T. Vollmann, New York Review of Books, October 8, 2009

Blame by Michelle Huneven, Boston Globe, November 29, 2009

Kissing The Mask by William T. Vollmann,, April 6, 2010


The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow, The Nation, July 19/26 2010

Killer of Crying Deer by William Orem,, October 6, 2010,         

Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War by Deb Olin Unferth, The Nation, March 28 2011

Netsuke by Rikki Ducornet, Boston Globe, May 1, 2011









other writing:


"Strange Yet Familiar" (note on Peter Taylor) Nashville Scene (December 20, 2001)


"American Stars and Bars," (essay) Callaloo, Vol 24, # 1, Winter 2001


Paris Review: "The Art of Fiction CLXIII (Interview with William Vollmann), (Vol 42, # 156, Fall 2000)


"Bar None,"  New York Times Magazine, March 3, 1996


"Miroir Danjere,"  Hudson Review, Winter 1996


"William T. Vollmann's Risky Business" (profile), New York Times Magazine, February 6, 1994


"An Interview with Madison Smartt Bell" by Mary Louise Weaks, Southern Review, Vol. 30 #1, Winter 1994


My Poor Elephant: 27 Male Writers at Work:  "One Art" (autobiographical essay)  Longstreet Press, 1992


Baltimore Magazine: "The School Of Hard Knocks" (article on local boxing gym) November 1990


Waiting For The End Of The World (screenplay)  Commissioned by Cine Paris, 1988


The Safety Net (screenplay)  Commissioned by New Horizons (Roger Corman)


Choc En Retour (screen adaptation of novel Straight Cut)  Commissioned by Thomas Kuchenreuther, Munich, Germany, in progress.


Happy Families Are All Alike (half-hour filmscript) in production by Andrew Moore, New York, NY


The History Of The Owen Graduate School Of Management (nonfiction book) Vanderbilt University, 1988


Readers' Guides: The Franklin Library, 1979-83 (On Cervantes, Bronte, Twain, Fenimore Cooper, Tolstoy, Howells, Trollope, James, Pound, London, Plotinus, Aristotle, &c.)




"A Propellor On A Skullcap" (note on Thelonius Monk), New York Times Arts & Leisure, June 13, 1993


"Rediscovering the Ageless Pleasures of Rereading," Boston Globe, June 20, 1993


books in foreign editions and in translation:


The Washington Square Ensemble:

British edition, Andre Deutsch, 1983

German translation (Washington Square, New York, Wilhelm Goldmann, 1990

Danish translation,(Ensemblet Fra Washington Square) Fremad, 1990

Spanish translation, Ediciones del Serbal, 1990


Waiting For The End Of The World :

British editions: Chatto & Windus, 1985; Sphere/Abacus paperback, 1986

German translation (Warten auf das Ende der Welt), Wilhelm Goldman, 1989


Straight Cut:

British editions, Chatto & Windus, 1987; Sphere/Abacus paperback, 1988

German translation (Ein Sauberer Schnitt), Wilhelm Goldmann, 1988

Danish translation (Klip), Samlerens Forlag, 1989

Spanish translation (Corte Directo), Editorial Circe, 1988

Portuguese translation, Editora Globo, 1990

Japanese translation, Shinchosa, 1990

Ein Sauberer Schnitt, Goldman Krimi, 1992

French translation (Coups Sombres) Actes Sud, 1994


Zero db:

British editions, Chatto & Windus, 1987; Sphere/Abacus paperback, 1989

German translation (Heute ist ein guter Tag zum Sterben), Wilhelm Goldmann, 1989

Japanese translation, Shinchosa, 1991

French translation (Coups Sombres), Actes Sud, 1994


The Year Of Silence:

British editions, Chatto & Windus, 1987; Sphere/Abacus paperback, 1989

German translation, Wilhelm Goldmann, 1990

Danish translation (Stilhedens Ar), Samlerens Forlag, 1989

Dutch translation (Een Jaar Stilte), Uitgeveri Unieboek, 1989

Spanish edition (El Año del Silencio) Circe, 1990


Barking Man:

British edition, Bloomsbury, 1992

German edition, Wilhelm Goldmann, 1992


Doctor Sleep:

British edition, Bloomsbury 1992

German translation, Wilhelm Goldmann, 1992


Save Me, Joe Louis:

French translation, Actes Sud (Paris/ Arles) 1994

Battery Park Heimwärts (German translation), Goldmann Verlag 1996



All Souls' Rising:

British edition, Granta Books, 1995

French translation (Le Soulèvement des Ames), Actes Sud, 1996

German translation (Aufstand aller Seelen), Zsolnay, 1996

Italian translation (Quando le anime si sollevano) Instar Libri, 1999


Ten Indians:

Dix Indiens (French translation) Actes Sud, 1999


Master of the Crossroads:

French translation: Le Maître des Carrefours  (Paris: Actes Sud 2004)

Babel paperback edition 2007


Anything Goes:

French translation: La Ballade de Jesse, Actes Sud, 2009


The Stone that the Builder Refused:

French translation: La Pierre du Batîsseur, Actes Sud 2007

Italian Translation: Il Napoleone Nero (Padona: Alet Edizioni 2008)


Lavoisier in the Year One :

Portuguese translation: Lavoisier No Ano Um, Sao Paolo, Brazil, Companhia das Letras Grandes Descobertas, 2007


Toussaint Louverture :

French translation : Actes Sud, 2007








interviews & profiles:


Interview by Bob Summer, Publishers' Weekly, December 11, 1987

Interview by Ann Kolson, Philadelphia Inquirer, March or April 1988?

Interview by Robert Bradley, AWP Newsletter, February 1989

Profile by Bill Kent,  Baltimore Magazine, May 1989

Interview by John X Kim and Yong Lee, Zeniada, Johns Hopkins University, vol xi, no. 1, fall 1988.

Essay-Review by George Garrett, "A Singular View of New York," The World and I, The Washington Times, January 1988

Interview in Japanese, Switch, 1988

Interview in Japanese, Switch, November 1991 Vol 9 #5

Interview by Randi Henderson, The Baltimore Sun, Sunday, March 24, 1991

"Criminal Codes," Interview with Craig Daniels, CityPaper (Baltimore) August 6, 1993

"An Interview with Madison Smartt Bell," by Justin Cronin, Four Quarters, Vol 9 #1 & 2, Spring 1995

"Madison Smartt Bell" interviewed by Alexander Neubauer, Conversations on Writing Fiction: Interviews with Thirteen Distinguished Teachers of Fiction Writing in America, Harper Perennial 1994

"Madison Smartt Bell: An Interview with Megan Sexton" (interview) Five Points v. 7 # 1, Winter 2003.

“Madison Smartt Bell and Laurent Dubois: The Haitian Revolution at the Crossroads”

Commonplace (, vol 7 no. 4, July 2007

“A Writer’s Walkabout” by Laura Wexler, Style: Smart Living in Baltimore, November 2007

“Charming Banter: An Interview with Elizabeth Spires & Madison Smartt Bell” by William Walsh (The Writer’s Chronicle –AWP, February 2008)

“Stray Questions for Madison Smartt Bell” by Dwight Garner, Paper Cuts (New Times Book Review blog) September 7, 2007.

Égalité for All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution (PBS premiere broadcast January 25 2009, PBS Home Video DVD released March 17 2009) interview and commentary.

“Madison Smartt Bell” interviewed by Vincent Jaury, Transfuge (Paris) #30, May 2009

“Rebel Music New and Old,” Paper Cuts: Living with Music (New York Times Book Review blog) January 7 2009:

“Roundtable on Haitian Music,” (New Yorker blog, edited by Sasha Frère-Jones) March 24, 2009


For reviews of individual titles, see the New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Village Voice, The London Times Literary Supplement, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Herald, The San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, &c.






awards and honors:


The Lillian Smith Award, 1989

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1991

Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, 1991

George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation Award, 1991-2

National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, 1992

National Book Award Finalist (for All Souls' Rising) 1995

PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist (for All Souls' Rising) 1996

Maryland Author Award (from the Maryland Library Ass. for All Souls' Rising), 1996

Annisfield-Wolf Award (for All Souls' Rising), 1996

Selected for Granta "Best American Novelists Under 40" issue, 1996

John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, 2001

Member, Fellowship of Southern Writers, 2003- present

Goucher Chair of Distinguished Achievement, Goucher College, 1995-present

Fellow, Society of American Historians, elected 2005

Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2008

Fellow, the Leon Levy Center for Biography, City University of New York, 2011-12

Narrative Design