Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arkansas Writer Dies

Deaf novelist Donald Harington has died at the age of 73 of pneumonia and other ailments. Entertainment Weekly called him “America’s greatest unknown writer” and the Washington Post wrote, “Harington is one of the most powerful, subtle and inventive novelists in America.” Harington lost nearly all of his hearing at the age 12 to bacterial meningitis and became a passionate reader, using a system of cards to answer questions from students. Most of his 15 novels revolved around a fictional town in the Ozarks of Arkansas. Harington said his deafness gave him an advantage because, “There was an enormous distinction between the way people talked out in the Ozarks and the way they talked in town. Losing my hearing at that particular date embedded the language into my memory. I can still hear these people, the way they sounded in 1948.”