‘Stay More’ documentary on late author, UA professor Donald Harington in the works

Donald Harington

Photo: Russell Cothren, University of Arkansas

America’s greatest unknown novelist may finally get his due.

Donald Harington, the late author, art historian, and 22-year professor at the University of Arkansas who Entertainment Weekly called “America’s greatest unknown writer” is the subject of a forthcoming documentary entitled Stay More: The World of Donald Harington.

The documentary, filmed by St. Louis professor and filmmaker Brian Walter and created from hours of interviews with Harington and his wife Kim from 2006-2007, could be ready in time to submit for consideration at this year’s Offshoot Film Festival.

“I should have an early cut of the film in the first week, or at least by mid-July,” Walter said.

Walter said the film will focus on Harington’s life and work, his childhood and relationship with his parents, the story of how he lost his hearing to meningitis at age 12, and more.

“This version of the documentary will be very friendly to someone who’s never read a Harington novel,” Walter said.

Harington is the author of 15 novels about his fictional Ozark town of “Stay More.” His last novel, “Enduring” was published in September of 2009. Harington died later that year due after a battle with cancer.

Harington won several awards for his work, including a Lifetime Award for Contributions to Southern Literature from Oxford American Magazine in 2006, the Robert Penn Warren Award for fiction in 2003, and was inducted into the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame in 1999.

Walter said he doesn’t have specific plans for what to do with the documentary once it’s finished, but he is hopeful that he’ll find an outlet for it. “I am targeting AETN, so that’s a possibility,” he said. “There are some opportunites with the (University of Arkansas) library which preserves visual and oral histories of Arkansas.

“Also, lots of documentaries get submitted to film festivals,” he said. “We’ll have to see where it goes.”

Walter said a Facebook page he created for the documentary is the best way for those interested to keep up with the project.