Early Life and Education
Delia Owens was born on August 18, 1949, in Thomasville, Georgia. She spent most of her early life in the small town of Valdosta, Georgia. Owens’ parents were divorced when she was young, and she was raised by her mother. Owens was interested in nature and animals from a young age and spent a lot of time exploring the outdoors.
Delia Owens attended the University of Georgia, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology. She then went on to earn a Ph.D. in animal behavior from the University of California, Davis.
Career as a Wildlife Scientist
After earning her Ph.D., Delia Owens worked as a wildlife scientist in Africa for over 20 years. She and her then-husband, Mark Owens, conducted research on spotted hyenas, brown hyenas, and lions in Zambia and Botswana. They co-authored three non-fiction books about their experiences: “Cry of the Kalahari” (1984), “The Eye of the Elephant” (1992), and “Secrets of the Savanna” (2006).
In 2018, Delia Owens published her first novel, “Where the Crawdads Sing“. The novel tells the story of a young girl named Kya who grows up in the marshes of North Carolina and is forced to fend for herself after her family abandons her. The novel was an instant success and spent over a year on The New York Times Best Seller list. It has been translated into over 40 languages and has sold over 7 million copies worldwide.
Awards and Honors
“Where the Crawdads Sing” has received numerous awards and honors, including:
- Goodreads Choice Award for Best Fiction (2018)
- Barnes & Noble Book of the Year (2018)
- Audie Award for Best Audiobook (2019)
- British Book Award for Debut Book of the Year (2019)
- Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction (2019)
Owens currently lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband Mark, where she continues to write and explore the outdoors.
Delia Owens and her husband Mark Owens has also been involved in conservation efforts throughout their careers. They established the Owens Foundation for Wildlife Conservation in 2007, which aims to promote wildlife conservation and support research projects that help protect endangered species. The foundation has supported a variety of projects in Africa, including anti-poaching initiatives and research on elephant behavior.
Impact on Readers and the Literary World
“Where the Crawdads Sing” has not only been a commercial success but has also received critical acclaim. Many readers have been drawn to the novel’s vivid descriptions of nature, complex characters, and themes of isolation and resilience. The novel has been praised for its lyrical prose and has been compared to the works of other Southern writers such as William Faulkner and Carson McCullers.
The novel’s success has also been credited with helping to revive interest in literary fiction and debut authors. It has been described as a “publishing phenomenon” and has sparked a bidding war for the film rights, which were eventually acquired by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine.
Controversies and Criticisms
Despite the overwhelming success of “Where the Crawdads Sing”, the novel has also been subject to some controversies and criticisms. Some readers and reviewers have raised concerns about the novel’s portrayal of race and poverty, arguing that it perpetuates harmful stereotypes about African Americans and people living in rural areas.
In response to these criticisms, Owens has defended her work, arguing that the novel is a work of fiction and should be read as such. She has also emphasized that her experiences in Africa have made her acutely aware of the importance of understanding and respecting cultural differences.
Legacy and Future Work
Delia Owens has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the literary world, and her impact is likely to be felt for years to come. Her work has inspired countless readers and has helped to promote a greater appreciation for the natural world.
As for her future work, Delia Owens has been tight-lipped about her upcoming projects but has hinted that she is working on a new novel. Given her track record of success, it’s safe to say that many readers are eagerly anticipating her next release.
Delia Owens has had a remarkable career as a wildlife scientist, conservationist, and author. Her work has brought attention to the beauty and fragility of the natural world and has inspired readers around the world. With “Where the Crawdads Sing”, Owens has proven herself to be a talented and versatile writer and has cemented her place as one of the most important voices in contemporary fiction.