Mark Childress was destined to be a writer. Born in the literary capital of Alabama-- Monroeville--he fondly recounts his discovery of the work of Harper Lee, specifically the profound effect the novel To Kill a Mockingbird had on his career and ambitions. His essay, Looking for Harper Lee, details his experiences with the renowned author.
Childress left Monroeville as a young child, and while he visited regularly, spent much of his childhood between Ohio, Indiana, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.
Upon graduating from the University of Alabama in 1978, Childress became a journalist, a path that garnered him experience as a reporter for The Birmingham News and editor for Southern Living and The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. His work has been published in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Chicago Tribune, among others
In 1987, Childress turned his sights on writing fiction full-time. One Mississippi was recognized by O Magazine and became a summer reading selection for Good Morning America, while Stephen King called it one of the Ten Best Books of 2006 in Entertainment Weekly.
Childress has been honored with such awards as the Thomas Wolfe Award (a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Alabama), and the Alabama Library Association’s Writer of the Year. His novel Tender was a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club Selection, yet he is likely best known for Crazy in Alabama, recognized as Book of the Year in 1993 by The London Spectator and listed as a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times. He wrote the screenplay for the work, which became a selection of the Venice and San Sebastian Film Festivals in 1999.
Childress has written three children’s books: Joshua and Bigtooth, Joshua and the Big Bad Blue Crabs, and Henry Bobbity Is Missing and It Is All Billy Bobbity's Fault.
Childress currently lives in another literary hub, Key West, Florida, home of Ernest Hemingway. He continues to write and is said to be working on a new film project.