John Crowley /ˈkraʊli/ (born December 1, 1942) is an American author of fantasy, science fiction and mainstream fiction. He studied at Indiana University and has a second career as a documentary film writer.
He is best known as the author of Little, Big (1981), which received the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and has been called "a neglected masterpiece" by Harold Bloom, and his Ægypt series of novels which revolve around the same themes of Hermeticism, memory, families and religion.
Crowley wrote the bi-monthly "Easy Chair" essay in Harper's Magazine for a year; his last column appeared in the February 2016 issue.
Crowley at South Street Seaport in 2007
|Born||1 December 1942|
Presque Isle, Maine, U.S.
|Occupation||Novelist, documentary screenwriter, university lecturer|
|Genre||Science fiction, fantasy|
|Notable works||Engine Summer|
Ægypt series: The Solitudes,
Love & Sleep, Dæmonomania, Endless Things
|Notable awards||World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement|
John Crowley was born in Presque Isle, Maine, in 1942; his father was then an officer in the US Army Air Corps. He grew up in Vermont, northeastern Kentucky and (for the longest stretch) Indiana, where he went to high school and college. He moved to New York City after college to make movies, and did find work in documentary films, an occupation he still pursues. He published his first novel (The Deep) in 1975, and his 12th volume of fiction (Four Freedoms) in 2009. Since 1993 he has taught creative writing at Yale University. In 1992 he received the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
His first published novels were science fiction: The Deep (1975) and Beasts (1976). Engine Summer (1979) was nominated for the 1980 American Book Award in a one-year category Science Fiction; it appears in David Pringle's Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. In 1981 came Little, Big, covered in Pringle's sequel, Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels.
In 1987 Crowley embarked on an ambitious four-volume novel, Ægypt, comprising The Solitudes (originally published as Ægypt), Love & Sleep, Dæmonomania, and Endless Things, published in May 2007. This series and Little, Big were cited when Crowley received the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature.
He is also the recipient of an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant. James Merrill, the organization's founder, greatly loved Little, Big, and was blurbed praising Crowley on the first edition of Love & Sleep. His recent novels are The Translator, recipient of the Premio Flaiano (Italy); Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land, which contains an entire imaginary novel by the poet; and the aforementioned Four Freedoms, about workers at an Oklahoma defense plant during World War II. A novella, The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines, appeared in 2002. A museum-quality 25th anniversary edition of Little, Big, featuring the art of Peter Milton and a critical introduction by Harold Bloom, is in preparation.
Crowley's short fiction is collected in three volumes: Novelty (containing the World Fantasy Award-winning novella Great Work of Time), Antiquities, and Novelties & Souvenirs, an omnibus volume containing nearly all his short fiction through its publication in 2004. A collection of essays and reviews entitled In Other Words was published in early 2007.
Most of the ideas he has for books occur about ten years before he actually starts working on the books.
In 1989 Crowley and his wife Laurie Block founded Straight Ahead Pictures to produce media (film, video, radio and internet) on American history and culture. Crowley has written scripts for short films and documentaries, many historical documentaries for public television; his work has received numerous awards and has been shown at the New York Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festival, and many others. His scripts include The World of Tomorrow (on the 1939 World's Fair), No Place to Hide (on the bomb shelter obsession), The Hindenburg (for HBO), and FIT: Episodes in the History of the Body (American fitness practices and beliefs over the decades; with Laurie Block).
Crowley's correspondence with literary critic Harold Bloom, and their mutual appreciation, led in 1993 to Crowley taking up a post at Yale University, where he teaches courses in Utopian fiction, fiction writing, and screenplay writing. Bloom claimed on Contentville.com that Little, Big ranks among the five best novels by a living writer, and included Little, Big, Ægypt (The Solitudes), and Love & Sleep in his canon of literature (in the appendix to The Western Canon, 1994). In his Preface to Snake's-Hands, Bloom identifies Crowley as his "favorite contemporary writer", and the Ægypt series as his "favorite romance...after Little, Big".
Crowley has also taught at the Clarion West Writers' Workshop held annually in Seattle, Washington.
Short story "Flint and Mirror" (2018) was presented as "recently discovered among uncatalogued papers of the novelist Fellowes Kraft" (one of the Ægypt's protagonists).
Crowley's articles and essay-reviews have appeared in Lapham's Quarterly, the Boston Review, Tin House, and Harper's.
John Crowley may refer to:
John Crowley (author) (born 1942), American author
John Crowley (baseball) (1862–1896), American Major League catcher
John Crowley (biotech executive) (born 1967), American biotechnology executive
John Crowley (bishop) (born 1941), former bishop of Middlesbrough
John Crowley (director) (born 1969), Irish theatre and film director
John Crowley (Irish politician) (1870–1934), Irish Sinn Féin politician
John Crowley (1659-1728), British politician
John Powers Crowley (1936–1989), U.S. federal judge
Johnny Crowley (born 1956), Irish hurler
Johnny Crowley (Gaelic footballer), Gaelic footballer with Kerry GAA
John Crowley, founder of Meadow Hall Ironworks, now the site of Meadowhall shopping centrePresque Isle, Maine
Presque Isle is the commercial center and largest city in Aroostook County, Maine, United States. The population was 9,078 in 2017 as estimated by the US Census, a decrease from the count of 9,692 in the 2010 Census. The city is home to the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Northern Maine Community College, Husson University Presque Isle, Northern Maine Fairgrounds, The Aroostook Centre Mall, and the Presque Isle International Airport.
Presque Isle is the headquarters of the Aroostook Band of Micmac, a federally recognized tribe.
Works by John Crowley