Robert Bingham (writer)
A member of a wealthy family of Louisville, Kentucky, his great-grandfather was the politician and newspaper publisher Robert Worth Bingham, and his grandfather, Barry Bingham, Sr., went into the family newspaper businesses as an editor and publisher. Bingham's father, Robert Worth Bingham III (known by his middle name), who also worked in the family business and was expected to take over, was killed aged 34 in a car accident while on vacation at Cape Cod in 1966, when his son was only three months old.
Bingham graduated from Brown University in 1988. He then received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University. His fiction and non-fiction appeared in The New Yorker, and he worked for two years as a reporter for the Cambodia Daily. He wrote the short story collection Pure Slaughter Value and the novel Lightning on the Sun.
Bingham died of a heroin overdose at age 33 on November 28, 1999, six months after marrying Vanessa Scharven Chase, a Harvard graduate art historian, and five months before the publication of his novel. In Robert Bingham's honor, the PEN American Center has established the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, which awards $25,000 to the most exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut work represents distinguished literary achievement.
Bingham was a close friend of musician Stephen Malkmus; Malkmus played a show at Bingham's wedding, and served as an usher at his funeral. The title of "Church on White," a song from Malkmus's debut album, Stephen Malkmus, refers to Bingham's old New York City address.
Bingham was also a friend of poet/musician David Berman (leader of the band Silver Jews); the song 'Death Of An Heir of Sorrows', from Silver Jews' 2001 album Bright Flight, is an elegy for Bingham.
- Amelia Hill. "The life and death of Robert Bingham". the Guardian.
- "Robert W. Bingham Iv, 33, Scion Of Kentucky Newspaper Family". tribunedigital-chicagotribune.
- Adrian Dannatt (23 October 2011). "Obituary: Robert Bingham". The Independent.
- OPEN CITY Accessed September 21, 2006.
- "Bingham, 72, Heir to Media Empire, Dies". thecrimson.com.
- "The Binghams of Louisville : Family Tragedy and Feuds Bring Down Media Empire". latimes.
- BAM: Obituaries, The Classes, March/April 2000 Accessed September 21, 2006.
- Stacey D'Erasmo. Wasted - New York Times Published April 23, 2000. Accessed September 21, 2006.
- PEN American Center - PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers Updated 2004. Accessed September 21, 2006.
- Spin magazine, Spin Media, March 2001, pg 94
- "In Brief: Stephen Malkmus". NYMag.com.