Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

As Kya Clark’s war-injured, alcoholic father grows more violent, her older siblings escape one by one. One day, her mother packs up and walks away without a backward glance.

After a particularly nasty encounter with their father, Kya’s next oldest and last remaining sibling, Jodie, leaves.
Eventually, her father just doesn’t come back from a drinking binge and Kya is left alone in a shack in the North Carolina marshlands.
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING is the story of her survival, her ability to make loving friends and ultimately the discovery of an amazing talent for painting and describing the secrets of the marshland’s water birds, shells, grasses, trees, mushrooms and flowers.
Author Delia Owens weaves her story on paired timelines. One timeline moves forward from 1952, the other spirals around a murder in the late 1960s. Themes of innocence and knowledge, risk and trust and the wonders of liminal lands where earth meets water and sky weave through Kya’s story.
Owens has done a moving job of telling how Kya, whose formal education consisted of a single day in the second grade, become a renowned artist and self-taught biologist who makes her community famous. The community that spurned her for being different, nicknaming her the Marsh Girl, and offering little support to a child alone in the world, slowly awakens to the fact that she is a treasure.

About the Author: Delia Owens (1949 – )

Born in Southern Georgia, Delia Owens is an American author and zoologist.  She has written three nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa, including Cry of the Kalahari, The Eye of the Elephant and Secrets of the Savanna, all of which she co-wrote with her husband Mark Owens. Where the Crawdads Sing was her first novel. Her work has been honored by the John Burroughs Award for nature writing.

Her family spent some part of every summer in the mountains of North Carolina. As a child, she was encouraged to spend time in the outdoors exploring.

In college, she decided to pursue a career in science rather than literature, although she had enjoyed writing since grade school. She earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Georgia and a doctorate in animal behavior from the University of California at Davis.

She currently lives in Idaho.


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