Alec Waugh, 83, prolific Britishborn novelist, story-teller and travel writer whose 50 books included the best-selling "Island in the Sun", died yesterday in a Tampa, Fla., hospital.
While overshadowed as a novelist by his older brother, Evelyn, lwho died in 1966, Mr. Waugh was particularly well known as a skilled reporter who relished travel and was especially gifted at bringing to life exotic locales.
"I get into every corner I can," the globe-trotting veteran of both World Wars once said in an interview. However, he said, he seldom found himself in a truly tight spot. "I've never been beatn up in an opium den or anything like that."
"Island in the Sun," published in 1956, explored emotional and splitical connections between blacks and whites on a Caribbean island. It was made into a film that, because if its depiction of the association between a black man and white woman, was once banned in several Southern cities.
Mr. Waugh's first novel, written when he was 17, also created a comsiderable stir. Called, "Loom of Youth," is discussed homosexuality at a fashionable English boarding school.
One result was that his fname was striken from the alumni roll of his own school, Sherbourne. Years later, he slaid, his name was restored and the novel, with it vivid deptictions of cricket and soccer, became known as a book for youngsters.
Witty and sophisticated, Mr. Waugh professed confusion over changing social and literary mores. "One can say so many things now that one couldn't say before," he told an interviewer in the '60s. "But I still don't know what things I can say and what I can't.
After Sherbourne, Mr. Waugh, who was born Aleander Raban Waugh, studied at Sandhurst, the Royal Military College, and served as a lieutenant during World War I in which he was taken prisoner. Later, he became a publisher's reader, then began the travels for which he was noted.They took him to the south seas, the West Indies, and to the United States, where he was often in residence at New York's celebrated Algonquin Hotel.
During World War II, he served with military intelligence in the Middle East, emerging with the rank of major, and with experiences that he put to literary use.
Once when asked about the literary relations between him and his brother, he replied that the two divided up the world this way: "He was a devout Catholic so he took the Catholic countries. I am devout cricketeer so I took the cricket-playing countries."
Mr. Waugh, who moved to Tampa last fall, suffered a stroke two weeks ago. Survivors include his wife and three children.