He was hailed as a bold new Southern writer in the Southern Gothic tradition, with his books populated by strange characters in a brutal and darkly humorous South. It was a world Harry Crews knew well.
Born in Bacon County in 1935 to poor farmers, Crews grew up with a violent and drunken uncle who became his stepfather. The psychological damage from a wrecked home and an accident that left him severely burned is reflected in both his writing and his sometimes outrageous persona.
Crews attended the University of Florida and studied under Vanderbilt agrarian Andrew Lytle, who also taught Flannery O’Connor and James Dickey. Crews published his first novel, The Gospel Singer, in 1968. Others followed in rapid succession, including the acclaimed A Feast of Snakes. One of his best books is his memoir, which focused on growing up poor in the rural South.
One of the South’s most prolific authors was born on June 7, 1935, Today in Georgia History.