Delia Owens

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Delia Owens
  • Author
  • Zoologist
Alma materUniversity of Georgia,
UC Davis
Notable worksWhere the Crawdads Sing (2018)
Cry of the Kalahari (1984)

Delia Owens (born ca. 1949)[1] is an American author and zoologist. Her debut novel Where the Crawdads Sing topped The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 and The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2020 for 32 non-consecutive weeks and was on the list for 135 weeks in total.[2][3][4] She has also written the memoirs Cry of the Kalahari, The Eye of the Elephant, and Secrets of the Savanna, with her then-husband, Mark, about their time studying animals in Africa.[5]


Owens grew up in Thomasville, in south Georgia in the 1950s.[6][7] She and her then-husband, Mark Owens, were students in biology at the University of Georgia. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from the University of California, Davis.[8]

The couple moved to Africa in 1974, traveling before making camp in the Kalahari Desert, Botswana. Cry of the Kalahari was written about the couple's experience. After they campaigned against the local cattle industry, Botswana government officials expelled them from the country.[1] The Owenses then settled in the North Luangwa National Park, Zambia, and later in Mpika, Zambia in the early 1990s.[1] Mark Owens has been accused of operating a "shoot to kill" policy against poachers. ABC News aired a report in 1996 entitled "Deadly Game: The Mark and Delia Owens Story", produced by Andrew Tkach and hosted by Meredith Vieira. The report featured the controversial killing of a poacher in Zambia, allegedly committed by Delia's stepson, Christopher Owens. Both Christopher and Mark Owens are wanted in Zambia for questioning. The Owens have denied the accusations.[1] The family were also accused of having "archaic ideas about Africans", with one critic describing their views as "Nice continent. Pity about the Africans."[9][10]

Since completing her PhD in Biology she has published her studies of African wildlife behavioral ecology in professional journals, including Nature, the Journal of Mammalogy, Animal Behaviour, and the African Journal of Ecology. She has also contributed articles to Natural History and International Wildlife aimed at a wider audience.

Delia and Mark Owens are divorced.[1] Delia Owens lives in Boundary County, Idaho.[7]

Owens is the co-founder of the Owens Foundation for Wildlife Conservation in Stone Mountain, GA. She has also worked as a roving editor for International Wildlife, lectured throughout North America, and participated in conservation efforts for the grizzly bear throughout the United States.[11]

Awards and honors[edit]




See also[edit]

  • Ethology in fiction – animal behavior in fiction, as exemplified by the account in Where the Crawdads Sing


  1. ^ a b c d e Goldberg, Jeffrey (March 29, 2010). "The Hunted". The New Yorker.
  2. ^ Kroll, Justin (January 25, 2021). "'Where The Crawdads Sing': Taylor John Smith And Harris Dickinson Join Film Adaptation For 3000 Pictures, Hello Sunshine And Sony". Deadline. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  3. ^ "Combined Print & E-Book Fiction, Bestsellers". The New York Times. 2019.
  4. ^ "Crawdads: 1 year on the NYT Bestsellers List". Delia Owens. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  5. ^ "Delia Owens, Who Suffused Her African Memoirs With Lush Natural Detail, Turns to Fiction". The New York Times. 2018.
  6. ^ "With 'Where the Crawdads Sing,' a Debut Novel Goes Big". The Wall Street Journal. 2018.
  7. ^ a b Cary, Alice (August 2018). "Delia Owens | A natural way of storytelling". BookPage. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Delia Owens". Delia Owens. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  9. ^ Miller, Laura (2019-07-30). "The Dark History of the Year's Bestselling Debut Novelist". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2019-12-22.
  10. ^ Goldberg, Jeffrey (2010-05-03). "Racism on Mark and Delia Owens's Website". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  11. ^ a b c d "Owens, Delia 1949(?)-". 27 August 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  12. ^ "About the Awards". Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  13. ^ "Review of The Eye of the Elephant". Publishers Weekly. 28 September 1992.
  14. ^ "Review of The Eye of the Elephant". Kirkus Reviews. 1992.
  15. ^ "Review of Secrets of the Savanna". Publishers Weekly. 20 March 2006.

External links[edit]