Bestselling and award-winning author Chris Crutcher has written eleven novels, two short story collections and an autobiography over the past three decades. His works are for both teens and adults, often dealing with difficult issues. His childhood and professional life have greatly influenced the subject matter of his works.
Crutcher was born in 1946 in Cascade, Idaho to a former World War II bomber pilot and a stay-at-home mother. Even though he didn’t have much athletic talent, he played sports throughout school including football, basketball, and swimming.
Crutcher graduated from Eastern Washington State College with degrees in psychology and sociology. After earning a teaching certification, he worked as a teacher in Washington and California and then as director of an alternative school in Oakland, California for almost ten years. He still works as a child and family therapist specializing in abuse and neglect.
His background in education and therapy has greatly influenced his provocative novels, which deal with domestic violence, poverty, and prejudice. Crutcher’s writing is considered extremely controversial, and is often banned from libraries and schools because the language and themes are deemed too adult for children. Some of Crutcher’s most notable titles include Running Loose, Stotan!, Chinese Handcuffs, The Crazy Horse Electric Game, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, and The Deep End.
Despite the debates, Crutcher’s work is praised by critics for its powerful characterizations and convincing relationships. As a result, he is the recipient of multiple awards, including the ALAN award, National Council of Teachers of English's National Intellectual Freedom Award, and The Writer magazine's Writers Who Make a Difference Award. The film industry has also taken notice of Crutcher, turning his short story A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune into the movie Angus.
Today, Crutcher lives a full and busy life. He continues to write powerful novels and work as a therapist and child protection advocate. He is also a frequent speaker at schools, universities and conferences throughout the year.