Donne Forrest

July 21, 1938January 7, 2019

Donne Alice (Hansen) Forrest, 80, Scarsdale, NY died on January 7, 2019 at home surrounded by her family.

Born on July 21,1938, in St. Louis, MO to Maxine (nee Wells) and Ernest Milton (Knute) Hansen, Donne spent her childhood in St. Louis. MO. Following her graduation from Ladue High School in 1956, she attended Pembroke College (Brown University) in Providence, RI and Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

Donne was married to Winston Forrest, Jr. until his death in 1988. The couple had two sons, Winston Forrest III of Virginia, and Peter Forrest, Tarrytown, NY.

A lifelong learner and a great lover of books, Donne worked in publishing for more than 40 years. When she retired in 2015, she was Director of Subsidiary Rights for Penguin Random House.

Donne inspired a fierce love and deep affection from all who knew her. Known to so many simply as “Granny,” she opened her home and her heart to all with joyful sincerity.

In her work, Donne’s spontaneous enthusiasm for the books she represented ignited sales and most importantly, lasting friendships around the world. She conducted business with a professionalism and honor that spanned eras. She earned her seat at her favorite table — in a farmhouse villa in the hills outside Bologna — and ruled it with gentle benevolence and eternal good humor. She was much loved across at least four continents.

She leaves behind her sister Judy Kelley (Bill Kelley), her sons Winston and Peter, her grandchildren, Maxwell and Emma, and her great grandchildren Jayden, Nicolas and Mia, along with many dear and lifelong friends around the world. The family welcomes all to celebrate Donne at an open house Sunday, January 13th at the family home, 116 Edgemont Rd., 12-4 pm. At Donne's request, no formal services are immediately planned.

Donations in Donne’s memory may be made to Room to Read, an international organization focusing on literacy and girls’ education.


  • Open House at Family Home Sunday, January 13, 2019


Donne Forrest

have a memory or condolence to add?

Angela Lantzounis

March 16, 2019

My family and i were saddened to find out today that Donne passed away. We have been her neighbors for over 40 years. I used to take care of her cats when she would travel. We fondly remember her orange tabby, Maynard. He used to visit us everyday by knocking on the window asking for food. We loved Donne she was such a wonderful woman. We will miss her greatly.
The Lantzounis Family at 120 Edgemont rd.

Maheneen Alam

January 12, 2019

When I started working for Donne, she told me - there are no unfixable mistakes. I passed on the same message to a young woman yesterday. Donne has been an inspiration and will be missed dearly.

Silke Weniger

January 10, 2019

Donne was the rights director with the greatest heart of all. Working for her as German subagents was joy and privilege. Her attachment to her international team was unrivalled, her generosity unsurpassed. We are missing you already. Rest in peace, dearest Donne. Love, Silke & Alexandra

Cecily Kaiser

January 10, 2019

Donne will always be at the head of the table. And I will always be angling to win a seat next to her, nearest to the life force that radiates the joy, humor, and wisdom of the evening (and dictates when we're ready for dessert). Bologna = Donne; Penguin Sub Rights = Donne; Growing old on the outside and remaining young, strong, hilarious, and outspoken on the inside = Donne. Never, ever will any one of us forget her.

Andrea Mosbacher

January 9, 2019

In the hallways of Dutton, and then Penguin, Donne was a spreader of light and laughter. I remember her standing in the doorway of my office and always finding something to laugh about, no matter how nightmarish the news she might have been delivering to me, the copy editor. Rest in peace, Donne. You made the world a happier place.

Kimberly Flynn

January 9, 2019

Sending my condolences to you Pete and toyour family for the loss of your kind, sweet and wise mother. In my mind and lovey memories she is very much alive.

Julie Cohen

January 9, 2019

How I will miss our chats. We could go on forever talking about everything in the world. Donne was my beloved cousin and so very much like my own mother. Those two adored one another and I was the lucky one who got to bask in their shared love. Donne would come to California after her own mother died specifically to visit with Vivian, my mother. Every single day was filled with laughter and joy as these two performed the crimes and misdemeanors that only they could get away with. Rest In Peace my darling. I am so glad I got to spend time with you in December and kiss you goodbye.

Anne McClelland

January 9, 2019

We are so sorry to hear of Donne's passing. Let memories comfort you and keep her alive in your hearts.

With deepest sympathy, Annie & Graham

Sean Fodera

January 8, 2019

I was so saddened when Sheldon Fogelman told me of Donne's passing today. We were colleagues for 12 (non-consecutive) years, from my first day in the business at Dutton at 2 Park Ave, to my last day at Penguin at 375 Hudson, Donne was a great inspiration. She taught me so much about publishing, professionalism, and how to keep a positive attitude at work. When I first moved into Subrights, and in my time as an agent, I always tried to channel Donne's lessons and spirit. May she rest in peace, knowing that she influenced several generations of publishing professionals in such positive ways. May her family and friends know comfort in happy memories.

Francesca Dow

January 8, 2019

Such wonderful memories of Donne at book fairs. I will remember her for warmth and welcome, always, even when there wasn’t a deal to be done. A generous heart and a lovely person.