(JTA) – American Jewish author E.L. Doctorow, who wrote the novel Ragtime, died of complications from lung cancer on Tuesday, July 21 in Manhattan at age 84.
Author of a dozen novels as well as assorted other works, Doctorow primarily wrote historical fiction. Ragtime, published in 1975, is set in New York in the lead-up to World War I and includes characters like Sigmund Freud and the anarchist Emma Goldman. His works spanned periods from the Civil War to the present day.
Doctorow won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. He was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Among his other prominent works are Billy Bathgate, The Book of Daniel and The March. Several of his books have been adapted into films.
Doctorow was born in 1931 in the Bronx to Jewish immigrants from Russia. He told the Kenyon Review that he grew up surrounded by talented Jewish refugees who had fled Nazi Germany. He attended Kenyon College and published his first novel, Welcome to Hard Times, in 1960. He lived in New York City.
Doctorow is survived by his wife, three children, and four grandchildren.