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Russell Banks (born March 28, 1940) is an American writer of fiction and poetry. As a novelist, Banks is best known for his "detailed accounts of domestic strife and the daily struggles of ordinary often-marginalized characters". His stories usually revolve around his own childhood experiences, and often reflect "moral themes and personal relationships".
Banks is a member of the International Parliament of Writers and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Banks was born in Newton, Massachusetts, on March 28, 1940, and grew up "in relative poverty." He is the son of Florence (née Taylor), a homemaker, and Earl Banks, a plumber, and was raised in Barnstead, New Hampshire. His father deserted the family when Banks was aged 12. While he was awarded a scholarship to attend Colgate University, he dropped out six weeks into university and travelled south instead, with the "intention of joining Fidel Castro's insurgent army in Cuba, but wound up working in a department store in Lakeland, Florida". He married a sales clerk and they had a daughter.