Although he was born and raised in Little Rock, Donald Harington spent nearly all of his early summers in the Ozark mountain hamlet of Drakes Creek, his mother's hometown, where his grandparents operated the general store and post office. There, before he lost his hearing to meningitis at the age of twelve, he listened carefully to the vanishing Ozark folk language and the old tales told by storytellers.
His academic career was in art and art history because, although determined to become a novelist (he wrote his first one at six), he felt that his ultimate teaching vocation should not interfere with his writing. He has taught art history at a variety of colleges in New York, New England, South Dakota and finally at his alma mater, the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where he has been lecturing for fifteen years in the same room where he first took courses in art history. He lives in Fayetteville with his wife Kim.
His first novel, THE CHERRY PIT, about Little Rock, was published by Random House in 1965, and since then he has published twelve other novels, most all of them set in the Ozark hamlet of his creation, Stay More, based loosely upon Drakes Creek. These include LIGHTNING BUG, SOME OTHER PLACE. THE RIGHT PLACE., THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE ARKANSAS OZARKS, THE CHOIRING OF THE TREES, THIRTEEN ALBATROSSES, and, most recently, WITH. He has also written books about artists.
He won the Porter Prize in 1987, the Heasley Prize at Lyon College in 1998, was inducted into the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame in 1999 and that same year won the Arkansas Fiction Award of Arkansas Library Association. John Guilds in his anthology, ARKANSAS, ARKANSAS, wrote, "If Miller Williams ranks as the greatest poet born, bred, nurtured, and still living in Arkansas, Donald Harington is by the same standards Arkansas's greatest novelist."
The Winter 2002 SOUTHERN QUARTERLY is a 'Donald Harington Special Issue" with tributes from fellow novelists, scholarly essays, interviews, and a selection of his forty-year correspondence with William Styron.