David Leavitt
David Leavitt

David Leavitt
David Leavitt (/ˈlɛvɪt/; born June 23, 1961) is an American novelist, short story writer, and biographer. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Leavitt is

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Not to be confused with the freelance journalist of the same name. For other people named David Leavitt, see David Leavitt (disambiguation). David LeavittBorn (1961-06-23) June 23, 1961 (age 57)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USOccupationShort story writer, novelist, essayist, professorNationalityAmericanEducationYale UniversityLiterary movementMinimalism, Gay literatureNotable worksFamily Dancing, The Lost Language of Cranes, While England SleepsNotable awardsFinalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award

David Leavitt (/ˈlɛvɪt/; born June 23, 1961) is an American novelist, short story writer, and biographer.

Contents Biography

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Leavitt is a graduate of Yale University and a professor at the University of Florida. He has also taught at Princeton University.

His published fiction includes the short-story collections Family Dancing (finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award), A Place I've Never Been, Arkansas and The Marble Quilt, as well as the novels The Lost Language of Cranes, Equal Affections, While England Sleeps (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize), The Page Turner, Martin Bauman, The Body of Jonah Boyd and The Indian Clerk (finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Award). Leavitt, who is openly gay, has frequently explored gay issues in his work.[1]

He is a member of the Creative Writing faculty at the University of Florida as well as the founder and editor of the literary journal Subtropics.

Copyright suit

In 1993, Leavitt was sued over the publication of his novel While England Sleeps by the English poet Stephen Spender. Spender accused Leavitt of using elements of Spender's memoir World Within World in the novel, and brought suit against Leavitt for copyright infringement.[2] Viking-Penguin, Leavitt's publisher at the time, withdrew the book. In 1995, Houghton Mifflin published a revised version of While England Sleeps with a preface by the author addressing the novel's controversy.

In "Courage in the Telling: The Critical Rise and Fall of David Leavitt," Drew Patrick Shannon argues that the critical backlash that accompanied the Spender incident "allowed to reinforce the boundaries between gay and mainstream literature that Leavitt had previously crossed".[3] Subsequent reviews of Leavitt's work were more favorable.[4][5]

The Spender episode provided Leavitt with the basis for his novella "The Term-Paper Artist".[6]


Two of Leavitt's novels have been filmed: The Lost Language of Cranes (1991) was directed by Nigel Finch and The Page Turner (released under the title Food of Love) was directed by Ventura Pons. The rights to a third, The Indian Clerk, have been optioned by Scott Rudin.

Bibliography Collections Novels Nonfiction Co-Authored and Edited Collections References
  1. ^ Lawson, Don. "Leavitt, David". Archived from the original on 19 October 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2015..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ Spender, Stephen. "My Life is Mine: Not David Leavitt's". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  3. ^ Shannon, Drew Patrick (October 2001). "Courage in the Telling: The Critical Rise and Fall of David Leavitt". International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies. 6 (4): 305. doi:10.1023/A:1012221326219.
  4. ^ Taylor, DJ (January 25, 2008). "Adding up to a life". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  5. ^ Freudenberger, Nell (September 16, 2007). "Lust for Numbers". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  6. ^ Bleeth, Kenneth; Julie Rivkin (October 2001). "The 'Imitation David': Plagiarism, Collaboration and the Making of a Gay Literary Tradition in David Leavitt's "The Term-Paper Artist". PMLA. 5. 116.
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