Bruce Chatwin

Bruce Chatwin

Birth
Sheffield, Metropolitan Borough of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
Death 18 Jan 1989 (aged 48)
Nice, Departement des Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Burial Aghios Nikolaos, Regional unit of Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece
Memorial ID 7469165 · View Source
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Author. Charles Bruce Chatwin, who seldom used his first name, was born in Sheffield in Yorkshire, although his parents came from Birmingham and he spent much of his youth in that city. His father was a solicitor who, at the time of his children's birth (another son, Hugh, was born in 1944) was serving abroad in the Royal Navy. Bruce Chatwin was educated at Marlborough College and was expected to go on to Oxford. Instead, he found a job at Sotheby's Auctioneers, beginning as a porter but soon becoming the youngest-ever director of that firm. In August 1965, he married Elizabeth Chanler, an American girl from Geneseo in New York State. She was a devout Roman Catholic who attended Mass every week, but Chatwin did not convert, nor did his marriage prevent him from having innumerable affairs with both men and women. The couple had no children. In 1966, Chatwin resigned from Sotheby's to study archaeology at Edinburgh University, but abandoned this after two years of the four-year course, leaving to travel and to write for The Sunday Times newspaper. His first book, "In Patagonia", appeared in 1977. His other works were "The Songlines", about Australian Aborigines, and three novels, "The Viceroy of Ouidah", "On the Black Hill" and "Utz", each of which was filmed. He died in a nursing home in Seillans in the South of France, being the first well-known Englishman to succumb to AIDS, and was cremated two days later in a chapel near Nice. His memorial service was held on the 14th. February at the Greek Cathedral of St. Sophia in Bayswater, London. If it had not been for his illness, he had intended to travel in September 1988 to Mount Athos and convert to the Orthodox Church. The service was notable for the fact that it marked Salman Rushdie's last appearance in public for many years, because, that morning, the fatwa had been pronounced on him by the Ayatollah. The following day, Chatwin's widow flew to Greece and buried his ashes in an unmarked grave beneath an olive tree in front of the 12th. Century church dedicated to St. Nicholas in the village of Chora, just East of Kardamili and about twelve miles South West of Sparta. Most of this information comes from a superb biography by Nicholas Shakespeare, which appeared on the tenth anniversary of Chatwin's death.

Bio by: Iain MacFarlaine


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Iain MacFarlaine
  • Added: 20 May 2003
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7469165
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Bruce Chatwin (13 May 1940–18 Jan 1989), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7469165, citing Agios Nikolaos, Chora, Aghios Nikolaos, Regional unit of Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece ; Maintained by Find A Grave .