Chatwin, Bruce

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Chatwin, Bruce Gender: M
Charles Bruce Chatwin
born on 13 May 1940 at 20:30 (= 8:30 PM )
Place Dronfield, England, 53n19, 1w27
Timezone GDT h1e (is daylight saving time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 22°52' s_mo.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 09°13 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 19°37'

Portrait of Bruce Chatwin 
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Bruce Chatwin
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British writer and traveler who won international acclaim for books which were based on his nomadic lifestyle. Chatwin’s writing was both thrilling and absorbing, carrying the reader with him to distant lands, and few writers were able to capture their readers’ imaginations as effortlessly as he did.

Born into a middle-class family, his father was a solicitor in Birmingham and was often away, sailing with the Navy. Chatwin received his education at boarding school and at Marlborough. He went to work at Sotheby’s in 1958 as a porter and rapidly progressed within the company due to an almost uncanny ability to spot fakes. His first novel, "Rotting Fruits," was written while he worked there. In 1966, he abandoned his promising career with the auction firm, however, to begin studying archeology at the University of Edinburgh; he flunked out halfway through the course. From 1973-76, he was a traveling correspondent for "The Sunday Times," London, but once again he broke from a seemingly secure life, and set off on a trip to Patagonia.

His book, "In Patagonia," chronicled these travels, winning awards in Britain and the United States. Chatwin wrote in a style devoid of flourish, with a keen eye for the small, seemingly irrelevant detail, and demonstrated the ability to capture a personality with his words. He kept notes throughout his travels, using moleskin notebooks, filling them with stories about the unusual people he met. He often mixed fact and fiction in his stories, and in his own life.

A strikingly handsome man, openly gay, with piercing eyes and tousled, fair hair, Chatwin assiduously cultivated a public persona, and a friend once described him as "Both mad and a snob about objects." He not only treasured fine art, but wanted everything about him to be the best as much as possible.

"The Songlines," 1987, was his most commercially successful work, and "Utz," 1988, was his last novel, although a collection of his essays titled "What Am I Doing Here?" was published after his death.

When he was 25 years old, he married Elizabeth Chanler, a woman he knew from Sotheby’s. They had no children, assuming that he was sterile though he was never tested to be sure. After 15 years together, she asked for a separation; however, toward the end of his life, they resumed their relationship.

In August 1986, dehydrated, anemic and weak, he was admitted to a clinic for tests, and on 9/05/1986, he was diagnosed HIV+. Always notoriously enigmatic, Chatwin went to great lengths to hide his disease from the public. Rumors had him suffering with various diseases such as malaria. He died of AIDS on 1/18/1989, 13:30 MET, at the state hospital in Nice, France.*

An artist and photographer throughout his life, Chatwin’s own artwork was published posthumously in "Photographs and Notebooks," 1993. His photographs trapped the beauty found in everyday objects, and his stark shots of crumbling shacks and ramshackle buildings displayed his keen awareness of the decay inherent in life.

(*Transit 7/1999 gives the date of death as 7/18/1989

in error. From the Nicholas Shakespeare bio, Chatwin died in "the state hospital" at Nice, France, 18 January 1989, at 1:30 P.M. MET.)

Link to Wikipedia biography



  • Work : New Career 1958 (Sotheby's)
  • Work : Fired/Laid off/Quit 1966 (Quit Sotheby's)
  • Work : New Career 1973 (Traveling correspondent, three years)
  • Health : Acute illness August 1986 (Entered clinic, poor health)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Health : Medical diagnosis 5 September 1986 (Diagnosed HIV+)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1987 (Book released)
  • Death by Disease 18 January 1989 (AIDS, age 48)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : Great Publicity 1993 (Posthumous publication)

Source Notes

Filipe Ferreira quotes biographer Nicholas Shakespeare, "Bruce Chatwin," Harvill, UK, 1999, "born in Dronfield, a suburb of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK.


  • Traits : Body : Appearance gorgeous (Strikingly handsome)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : AIDS/ HIV (Terminal)
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (One marriage; 15 years)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids none
  • Passions : Sexuality : Bi-Sexual
  • Passions : Sexuality : Gay
  • Vocation : Art : Art critic (Expert on art)
  • Vocation : Art : Fine art artist (Exhibited)
  • Vocation : Art : Photography (Exhibited)
  • Vocation : Business/Marketing : Sales (Sotheby's)
  • Vocation : Travel : Adventurer
  • Vocation : Writers : Columnist/ journalist (Traveling correspondent)
  • Vocation : Writers : Fiction