Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GWU chapter.

The moral dilemma of reading her book but also supporting a potential murderer

“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens has been a topic of conversation for many literature lovers. The story follows Kya, a girl who lived on an isolated marsh her whole life, as she is arrested and tried for the murder of a beloved boy from town, Chase Andrews.

As Delias Owens’ (a zoologist by trade) first novel, the book was read by more than twelve million readers around the globe and has been turned into a major motion picture. What some people don’t know is that Delia Owens’ life is not the typical life of an author. A controversy from decades ago was first brought to light when an ABC documentary aired featuring the life of both Delia Owens and her husband Mark Owens when they lived and worked in Zambia. Shortly after the documentary aired, a writer at the “The Atlantic” investigated the area the Owens lived in. The Owens left the country soon after the documentary aired because there was a Zambian police investigation on their activities discussed in the documentary. The investigation followed Mark and his son, Christopher, as they led airborne raids on nearby poaching camps and used hand-to-hand combat with nearby poachers. Mark Owens even “bragged about the killing of poachers on his watch,” as reported in “The Atlantic.”

This violent account arose concerns for Delia Owens, her family, and the book itself. Many people might be thinking, even including myself, how ethical it is to indulge ourselves with an author wanted for murder. Even though her husband and son killed poachers who were hurting animals, they still killed people. 

I am reading her book right now and it is really amazing. The way she uses her words are almost like lyrics to describe the town and the world that Kya and the others live in. She makes Kya’s life seem so interesting that you are engulfed by the story and don’t want to put the book down. After learning and reading about Delia and her family being wanted for murder in Africa, it was a twist that I didn’t really expect. I decided to read the book even after knowing Delia Owens’s situation but not everyone is like me. They might think it’s not morally correct. 

To read more about Delia Owens and her family: https://www.theatlantic.com/books/archive/2022/07/where-the-crawdads-sing-delia-mark-owens-zambia-murder/670479/

Maansi Chandra is from Winter Park, FL. She is a freshman at George Washington University. She is majoring in Public Health. She loves to sing and also loves to read. She never used to have time to write but she thought college was the best place for her to start up again. She is very excited to be part of the HerCampus team!