This Goodly Land

Mark Childress (September 21, 1957–present)

Alabama Connections

Selected Works

Literary Awards

Biographical Information

Mark Childress was born in Monroeville, Ala. His family moved away when he was very young, but he visited relatives there during the summer. He was inspired to become a writer after reading To Kill a Mockingbird by fellow Monroeville native Harper Lee. Childress attended the University of Louisiana at Shreveport, then transferred to the University of Alabama, from which he graduated in 1978 with a BA in English and journalism. He began working as a reporter for the The Birmingham News while he was still in school. In 1980, he became a feature writer for the magazine Southern Living.

In 1984, Childress left Southern Living to spend a brief period as an editor for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That year, he also published his first novel, A World Made of Fire, and he soon retired from journalism to write full-time. His most famous novel, Crazy in Alabama, was made into a motion picture. Childress published his first children’s book, Joshua and Bigtooth, in 1992. Since then, he has continued to publish both novels and books for children. Childress has lived in San Francisco and Costa Rica and currently resides in New York.

Interests and Themes

Many of Mark Childress’s novels employ magical realism or have Southern settings. His children’s books are about tolerance and learning to live with those who are different from us.

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Photo by Kelly Campbell; courtesy of Little, Brown & Company.

Last updated on May 30, 2008.

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