Drue Heinz was an incurable insomniac who spent most nights reading novels to stave off boredom. As such she developed a particular sympathy for the similarly lonely vigils of authors. She used her wealth as the wife of the owner of the tinned-food empire to nurture the creative instinct wherever she found it. She would become one of the most dedicated philanthropists to the literary world, endowing two of the most significant literary awards in America and Britain and founding a publishing house devoted to poetry
At Hawthornden Castle outside Edinburgh, home of the 16th-century Scottish poet William Drummond, she founded a retreat.