Don Wallace

Photo by Gwenn LeFranc

Don Wallace was born in Long Beach, California. He wrote his way through UC Santa Cruz, then it was on to Iowa for an MFA in fiction from the Writers’ Workshop in 1978 and marriage to fellow workshopper Mindy Pennybacker—to whom he was first introduced by Eric Olsen.

He worked for 26 years in Manhattan as a magazine editor at Hearst, Conde Nast, Time Inc and The New York Times Magazine Group, becoming a specialist in startups, sports and leisure (Yachting, Motorboating & Sailing, Golf Digest Woman), business (Fast Company, Success), women’s (Self, Parents) and other publications.

During the same period he wrote fiction and reviewed over 100 novels, mostly debuts, in Kirkus Reviews, and taught fiction and creative non-fiction at The New School for Social Research and journalism at the graduate publishing program at Pace University.

His essays, op-eds, columns, reviews and articles have appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times, Kirkus Reviews,, The Green Guide, Fast Company, Naval History, Islands, Wine Spectator, Diversion, Robb Report, and others. An essay on Baja California won the 1985 Pluma de Plata Mexicana for reporting on Mexico; a short story, “The Injunction,” was a 2006 selection for Next Stop Hollywood (St. Martins).

His greatest/strangest writing-related moment came on the occasion of receiving an author-of-the-year award from the U.S. Naval Institute: he found himself addressing the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces, 25 foreign military attaches and several hundred Naval and Marine officers in 2002, at the U.S. Naval Academy, hours before the invasion of Baghdad.

He and Mindy now live in Honolulu, while their son, Rory, has taken up the baton in Manhattan. Don ‘s last project was writing the documentary film, “Those Who Came Before: The Musical Journey of Eddie Kamae, ” about the 50-year search for the last remaining singers and composers of the ancient Hawaiian music. It is directed by Eddie Kamae, founder of the Sons of Hawaii, and Myrna Kamae.


The French House: An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village That Restored Them All (Sourcebooks, June, 2014)

One Great Game: Two Teams, Two Dreams, in the First Ever National Championship High School Football Game [non-fiction] (Atria Books, 2003)

A Tide in Time: The Log of Matthew Roving [serialized novel] (Naval History, 2000-03)

Hot Water [novel] (Soho Press, 1991)

WaterSports Basics (Prentice-Hall, 1985)

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