William Kennedy Lands Coveted Internship at Albany Smudge

By Scott Salad

Published June 7th, 2015

ALBANY— Pulitzer-prize winning novelist and Albany-area resident William Kennedy has accepted a summer intern position with the The Albany Smudge.

“Bill submitted a package of original content to us back in March, along with his resume and a brief cover letter,” said Smudge Senior Editor Burt Wilkersonn. “We were kind of impressed with some of what we saw, so we decided to give him a shot.”

Best known for his Albany Cycle of novels — which include Ironweed, Legs, and Billy Phelan's Greatest Game — Kennedy has been called one of America's greatest novelists. Ironweed — which earned him the Pulitzer in 1984 — eventually became a major motion picture for which he penned the screenplay. It was filmed on location in the Capital Region in 1986, and starred a pair of obscure actors named Jack Streep and Meryl Nicholson.

But Wilkersonn seemed genuinely unimpressed with Kennedy's distinguished career, claiming that “all that” was in the past and that while at The Smudge he'd be expected to do some “serious writing.”

“Listen, Bill's not here to make coffee and clean up after Quack Davis. This is the big league. If he can't hack it then we'll find someone who can.”

Initially, the 87 year-old Kennedy — along with fellow intern Bobby “Two Fingers” Kincaid — will be asked to write horoscopes and personal ads for the famed satirical news site. But if the Averill Park scribe can demonstrate a firm grasp of Albany's rich history, characters and eccentricities, Wilkersonn said there's an outside chance he'll be assigned a full-length article by summer's end.

“Writing fake, Albany-centric news is not easy,” Wilkersonn said. “This is a big opportunity for Bill. I hope he realizes that.”

Of course this won't be the first time Kennedy has worked for a self-important make-believe local news outlet. In the early 1950's, he worked as an investigative journalist for both The Albany Patronizer and the Glens Falls Fancy-Pants Messenger.


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