Willard Motley was born in Chicago, Illinois, on 14 July 1909 and grew up in a racially mixed neighbourhood in south Chicago. At the age of thirteen he began to write a children's column for the Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper. After graduating from Englewood High School in 1929 Motley began to submit work to popular magazines, but it would be 1938 before he published, primarily in small travel magazines.

In 1940 he began work on a novel, Knock on Any Door (1947). The story of an Italian American boy's transformation from altar boy to armed robber and murderer, Knock on Any Door drew on Motley's life in the Chicago slums during the 1930s, his experience on the Federal Writers' Project, and h…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Fleming, Robert E.. "Willard Motley". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 March 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3226, accessed 30 June 2015.]

Articles on Motley's works

  1. Knock on Any Door
  2. Let No Man Write my Epitaph
  3. Let Noon be Fair
  4. We Fished all Night