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Sunday, July 17, 2022

'Exploring the Nature of Courage'


“I want to look at this character from all points of view. I know I don't want to make them all good or all bad or all anything... the story itself often helps create the character.”  Chris Crutcher

Born in Ohio on this date in 1946, Crutcher grew up in a small town in Idaho where he was a multi-sport athlete and avid reader from early childhood.  Influenced by To Kill A Mockingbird and the idea that writing about small town life was a good thing, he went into writing for teens almost from the start of his writing career.  

The American Library Association named 8 of his 13 young adult novels and 2 short story collections “Best Books for Young Adults.”  Four of his books were on Booklist’s “Best 100 Books of the 20th Century” – more than any other single author on the list.  Crutcher also has received the Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement.

Crutcher's debut novel was Running Loose in 1983 about a senior in high school who has it all until life throws him for a few loops. Many of his novels concern teenaged athletes who have personal problems, often swimmers.         His recurring supporting characters include a wise teacher or coach.  One of his most honored is Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, the story of a girl who suffers a severe facial injury from an abusive parent.

“What I hope my writing reflects... is a sense of the connections between all human beings... and a different perspective on the true nature of courage,” he said.  “For me, those are things worth exploring and writing about.”


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