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Cover for A Childhood

A Childhood

The Biography of a Place

Harry Crews, Tobias Wolff (Foreword by)


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (3/14/2022)
Hardcover (10/1/1995)


The highly acclaimed memoir of one of the most original American storytellers of the rural South

A Penguin Classic

Harry Crews grew up as the son of a sharecropper in Georgia at a time when “the rest of the country was just beginning to feel the real hurt of the Great Depression but it had been living in Bacon County for years.” Yet what he conveys in this moving, brutal autobiography of his first six years of life is an elegiac sense of community and roots from a rural South that had rarely been represented in this way. Interweaving his own memories including his bout with polio and a fascination with the Sears, Roebuck catalog, with the tales of relatives and friends, he re-creates a childhood of tenderness and violence, comedy and tragedy. 

Praise For A Childhood: The Biography of a Place

“Reading Crews, I found the courage to tell the stories I’d been amassing my whole life.” —Mary Karr
“This memoir is for everyone. It’s agile, honest and built as if to last. Like its author, it’s a resilient American original.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

Penguin Classics, 9780143135333, 192pp.

Publication Date: March 15, 2022

About the Author

Harry Crews (1935-2012), author of seventeen novels and a memoir, often wrote about characters from the Deep South—poor, disenfranchised, and considered society’s outcasts and misfits—drawing the attention of readers of Southern Gothic and “grit lit”. He was born during the Great Depression in Bacon County, Georgia.  The recipient of numerous literary honors, Crews was named Georgia Author of the Year for fiction in 1969 for The Gospel Singer and was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Crews taught creative writing at the University of Florida for nearly thirty years.
Tobias Wolff (foreword) is the author of the novels The Barracks Thief and Old School, the memoirs This Boy’s Life and In Pharaoh’s Army, and the short story collections In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Back in the World, and The Night in Question. Wolff has received the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rea Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and in 2015, the National Medal of Arts.