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Donald Windham
(July 2, 1920 - May 31, 2010) U.S.A.

Donald Windham

Novelist and memoirist


Donald Windham born in Atlanta, Georgia, where his mother traded in her grand family house on Peachtree Street as her fortunes declined and went to work as a receptionist at Coca-Cola. He moved with his then-boyfriend Fred Melton, an artist, to New York City in 1939. Donald is perhaps best known for his close friendships with Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. In 1942 Windham collaborated with Williams on the play, You Touched Me!, which is based on a D. H. Lawrence short story with the same title. Donald received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1960.

Donald became estranged from Williams after Williams published his book Memoirs (1975). Donald later published a volume of their correspondence, which Williams falsely claimed was done without his permission.The publication of his correspondence with Williams was intended, in part, to set the record straight, but Williams took offense at the way his character came across.

Donald remained a friend of Capote until Capote's death. Donald also met and befriended such diverse figures as Lincoln Kirstein, Pavel Tchelitchew and Paul Cadmus.

Donald Windham
Donald Windham (standing) and Sandy Campbell, 1955 - Photo by Carl Van Vechten

In 1943, Donald met Sandy Campbell, an undergraduate student at Princeton University. In 1943 they began a relationship that would last until Campbell's death in 1988. Campbell frequently helped Donald publish books through the Stamperia Valdonega in Verona, Italy.

Partially because Donald was influenced by his own life, homosexuality is one of many themes treated in his work. Donald's novels include The Dog Star (1950), which was praised by André Gide and Thomas Mann, The Hero Continues (1960), which is likely based on Williams, Two People (1965) which is about a love affair between a New York stockbroker whose wife has left him and a 17-year-old Italian boy in Rome, and Tanaquil (1972), which is based on the life of George Platt Lynes. Lost Friendships , a memoir of his friendship with Capote and Williams, was published in 1987. It is regarded by some as his best book.

Donald Windham died at his home in Manhattan. He was 89. In June 2011 it was announced that Yale University will administer the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes.


Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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