Mark Childress's life began in the town of Monroeville, Alabama, in 1957 where he was born to Roy and Mary Helen Childress. During his childhood, Mark and his family moved to a variety of states. Eventually, they returned to the South where he completed high school in Clinton, Mississippi. In 1974 and 1975, Childress attended Louisiana State University; but he transferred, and in 1978, he graduated from the University of Alabama. After graduation, Childress began his career as a journalist. First, he secured a job as a reporter for the Birmingham News. Next, Southern Living magazine made Childress Features Editor.
Eventually, he decided to focus all of his time on being a writer. As a result, Mark Childress has written four fiction novels including: A World Made of Fire (1988), V for Victor (1988) , Tender (1990) , and Crazy in Alabama (1993) . Most of Childress's novels are set in twentieth century Southern society. Mark Childress has a unique style of portraying Southern people and their culture for which he has been presented many honors and awards. Tender was selected one of the Ten Best Novels of 1990 and was a national bestseller. Crazy in Alabama has been published in eight different languages. It too was bestseller and named one of the Ten Best of 1993. Mark Childress has also received a Distinguished Alumni Award and the Thomas Wolfe Award from the University of Alabama. In 1994, he won the Alabama Library Association Award for Writer of the Year.
In addition to his adult novels ,Childress has written three children's books. In 1992, Joshua and Bigtooth was published. Joshua and the Big Bad Blue Crabs and Henry Bobbity Is Missing and Its All Billy Bobbity's Fault ! were both published in 1996. Recently, Childress's fifth novel Gone for Good was published. He also adapted his novel Crazy in Alabama into a screenplay for the Columbia Pictures production of Crazy in Alabama, which was an official selection of the Venice and San Sebastian film festivals, and was featured on opening night of the 1999 New Orleans Film Festival. His articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Times Literary Supplement, Southern Living, and the Birmingham News, among other publications. He has lived in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, but Childress now lives in New York City, where he is writing the screenplay First Brother for Columbia Pictures, and working on his sixth novel, One Mississippi.