Stephen R. Donaldson

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"Stephen Donaldson" redirects here. For the American LGBT activist, see Stephen Donaldson (activist).
Stephen Reeder Donaldson
Stephen R Donaldson.jpg
Stephen R. Donaldson on a 2007 book tour.
Born (1947-05-13) May 13, 1947 (age 68)
Cleveland, Ohio
Pen name Reed Stephens
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Genre Fantasy, science fiction, mystery

Stephen Reeder Donaldson (born May 13, 1947) is an American fantasy, science fiction and mystery novelist, most famous for The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, his ten-novel fantasy series. His work is characterized by psychological complexity, conceptual abstractness, moral bleakness, and the use of an arcane vocabulary, and has attracted critical praise for its "imagination, vivid characterizations, and fast pace."[1] He earned his bachelor's degree from The College of Wooster and a Master's degree from Kent State University. He currently resides in New Mexico.

In the United Kingdom he is usually called "Stephen Donaldson" (without the "R").

Personal life[edit]

Donaldson spent part of his youth in India, where he attended what is now the Kodaikanal International School. He was attending Kent State University as a graduate student at the time of the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970. Though he was not on campus at the time of the shootings, his apartment was one and a half blocks away, and he was forced to live under martial law for three days afterwards. Donaldson does not like to discuss the incident, as he finds the memories disturbing.[2]

Donaldson is a fan of opera, and has said that he "love[s] that direct expression of passionate emotion in beautiful sound".[3]

Major influences[edit]

Donaldson is part of the generation of fantasy authors which came to prominence in the 1970s and early 1980s. Like that of many of his peers, his writing is heavily influenced by the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. However, Donaldson's stories show a wide range of other influences, including Mervyn Peake, C. S. Lewis, Robert E. Howard, and the operas of Richard Wagner. Donaldson is also a great fan of Roger Zelazny's Amber novels, which were a direct inspiration for his own Mordant's Need series. Also, in the Gradual Interview section of his website, Donaldson mentions his extensive study of Joseph Conrad, Henry James and William Faulkner to further develop his narrative style.

List of works[edit]


See full list of awards

Honorary degrees[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Clute, J; et al. (1999). The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. St. Martin's. p. 282. ISBN 1-85723-893-1. 
  • Hendrix, L.L. (1995). "The world of glass: The heroine's quest for identity in Spenser's Faerie Queen and Stephen R. Donaldson's Mirror of Her Dreams". Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy 65: 91–100. 
  • Keller, Dean H.; Nicholson, John W.; Dubois, Paul Z. (1986). Reading and the art of librarianship: selected essays of John B. Nicholson, Jr. New York: Haworth Press. p. 181. ISBN 0-86656-585-X. 
  • Laskar, B (2004). "Suicide and the absurd: The influence of Jean-Paul Sartre's and Albert Camus's existentialism on Stephen R. Donaldson's The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever". J. of the Fantastic in the Arts 14: 409. 
  • Senior, W. A. (1995). Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: variations on the fantasy of tradition. [Kent, Ohio]: Kent State University Press. ISBN 0-87338-528-4. 
  • Ward, T.B. (2001). "Creative Cognition, Conceptual Combination, and the Creative Writing of Stephen R. Donaldson". American Psychologist 56 (4): 350–54. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.56.4.350. PMID 11330235. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 


  1. ^ "Stephen R. Donaldson Criticism". Contemporary Literary Criticism. Accessed 28 November 2010.
  2. ^ Donaldson, Stephen R. (August 30, 2004). "Stephen R. Donaldson - Official Website". Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  3. ^ Donaldson, Stephen R. (August 3, 2011). "Stephen R. Donaldson - Official Website". Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Honorary Degrees June 2009". University of St Andrews. June 17, 2009. Archived from the original on June 24, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 

External links[edit]