This Goodly Land

Joe David Brown (May 12, 1915–April 22, 1976)

Alabama Connections

Selected Works

Literary Awards

Biographical Information

Joe David Brown was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala. As a young man, he worked as a reporter for the Birmingham Post, and, at the age of twenty-one, he became the city editor of the Dothan Eagle. Later, Brown worked for newspapers in Atlanta, Chattanooga, and St. Louis before joining the staff of the New York Daily News in 1939. During World War II, Brown served in the US Army as a paratrooper. After the war, he returned to the Daily News briefly. He also began publishing short stories and freelance articles in popular magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post.

Brown’s first novel, Stars in My Crown, was published in 1946 and was based on one of his short stories, “Grandpa and the Miracle Grindstone.” He also wrote the screenplay for the movie version which was released in 1950. In 1949, Brown became a foreign correspondent for Time magazine. He reported from Asia and Europe until 1957 when he left Time to become a freelance writer. Two more of Brown's novels were made into movies. Kings Go Forth was released in 1958, and Addie Pray was released in 1973 under the title Paper Moon. Brown continued to publish articles and short stories in popular magazines, including Sports Illustrated. He died of a heart attack at his home near Mayfield, Ga.

Interests and Themes

Many of Joe David Brown’s novels and short stories were influenced by his personal experiences. Kings Go Forth is a World War II novel, while Glimpse of a Stranger takes place in India. Addie Pray is set in Alabama during the Great Depression.

For More Information

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Photo courtesy of the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts, Auburn University.

Last updated on Oct 10, 2009.

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