Special Guest

Photo by: Michael Clemmer

Mark Childress was born in Monroeville, Alabama. His family spent his childhood following the moving van to various towns in Ohio, Indiana, and Mississippi.  After graduation from the University of Alabama in 1978, he was a reporter for the Birmingham News, features editor of Southern Living magazine, and regional editor of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution

Childress is the author of seven novels, A World Made of Fire (1984), V For Victor (1988), Tender (1990), Crazy in Alabama (1993), Gone for Good (1998), One Mississippi (2006), and Georgia Bottoms (2011).  His articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Times of London, San Francisco Chronicle, Saturday Review, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Travel and Leisure, and many other national and international publications.

Tender, a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection, was named to several “Ten Best of 1990” lists, and appeared on many national bestseller lists.  Crazy in Alabama, a featured selection of the Literary Guild, has also been published in Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Russia, Holland, Denmark, Poland, China, and Taiwan, and appeared on many bestseller lists and “Ten Best of 1993” lists. It was named “Book of the Year” for 1993 by The [London] Spectator, was a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year,” and was on the Der Spiegel bestseller list in Germany for ten months.

One Mississippi appeared on the New York Times bestseller list and many best-of lists including “Hot New Books”—Good Morning America, ABC, “Summer’s Hottest Reads”— People Magazine, “Summer’s 50 Hot Books”—Entertainment Weekly, “45 Reasons to Stay Inside”—Los Angeles Times, “Hottest Books for Summer”—Wall Street Journal, and “Hot Summer Reading”—O: The Oprah Magazine.

Georgia Bottoms received starred rave reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly and was a New York Times bestseller, a #1 bestseller at Books-A-Million, and appeared on many “Best of 2011″ lists.  

Childress has written several screenplays, including the 1999 adaptation of Crazy in Alabama, a Columbia Pictures film directed by Antonio Banderas and starring Melanie Griffith. It was an official selection of the Venice, San Sebastian, BAFTA, and New Orleans film festivals.

He is the recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer, the Thomas Wolfe Award, the University of Alabama’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Alabama Library Association’s Writer of the Year Award.

Childress has written three books for children, Joshua and Bigtooth (1992), Joshua and the Big Bad Blue Crabs (1996), and Henry Bobbity Is Missing and It Is All Billy Bobbity’s Fault (1996).

On Saturday, October 12, Mark Childress will participate in “A Conversation with Amy Tan” and will introduce Amy Tan for the Fitzgerald Award.