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Russell Banks, an award-winning novelist noted for his vivid portrayals of working-class Americans dealing with social and economic issues, died Saturday. He was 82.

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Banks died at his home in Saratoga Springs, New York, The New York Times reported. The cause of death was cancer, his literary agent, Ellen Levine, told the newspaper on Sunday. His editor, Dan Halpern, also confirmed the author’s death to The Associated Press.

Banks, a professor emeritus at Princeton University, wrote 21 works of fiction and nonfiction, the Times reported.

Two of his novels, “Continental Drift” (1985) and “Cloudsplitter” (1998), were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, according to the newspaper. Other works included “The Sweet Hereafter” (1991) and “Affliction.”

Banks was noted for injecting his blue-collar background into his writing, exploring the psychological pressure of life in the Northeast, according to the Times.

“In Banks’s world, geography is a kind of grim destiny,” Jennifer Schuessler wrote in The New York Review of Books in 2008.

Banks received the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature in 1985 and his first Pulitzer Prize nomination.

His signature work, “Cloudsplitter,” centered around the abolitionist John Brown, who was hanged in 1859 after leading an armed assault at a federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

Banks was born on March 28, 1940, in Newton, Massachusetts, the Times reported. His father, Earl Banks, was a plumber, while his mother, Florence Taylor Banks, was a homemaker and bookkeeper.

He was raised in Barnstead, New Hampshire, where he said his father’s alcoholism and physical abuse caused conflicting feelings, according to the newspaper.

“I don’t remember not being physically afraid of my father,” Banks told People magazine in 1989. “I hated my father, and I adored him.”

“Affliction” (1989) was a father-son novel that dealt with domestic violence. Banks dedicated the book to his father, who died in 1979.

“He died in 1979, and yet he appears in my dreams two or three times a week, as he was in his mid-40s, when he was at his most powerful,” Banks once said. “He left a residue of violence my neurons are still patterned around.”

A film version of “Affliction” was released in 1997 and starred Sissy Spacek, Nick Nolte, Willem Dafoe and James Coburn. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, and Coburn won an Oscar for best-supporting actor.

“The Sweet Hereafter” was a novel based on a fatal school bus crash in Alton, Texas, in 1989, according to the Times.

A film version of the book was also released in 1997 and received two Academy Award nominations. Banks himself appeared in the movie as a doctor, the newspaper reported.