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).
Bell's eighth novel, All Souls' 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 Revolution trilogy, Master of the Crossroads and The Stone That the Builder Refused, is available 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, Madison Smartt Bell has lived in New York and in London and now lives in Baltimore, Maryland. A graduate of Princeton University and Hollins College, he has taught in various creative writing programs, including the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. Since 1984 he has taught in the Goucher College Creative Writing Program, where he is currently Professor of English, along with his wife, the poet Elizabeth Spires.