The shocking real life events that inspired Where the Crawdads Sings' author to write the best-selling novel

Where the Crawdads Sing author, Delia Owens, wrote this best-selling novel after similar events transpired in her own life

Where the Crawdads Sing author
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

The author of Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens, has an intriguing past that has possibly influenced the plotlines in the best-selling novel which has just been adapted into a film. 

Where the Crawdads Sing was released in cinemas on Friday, July 22, 2022 and it is set to be one of the best book-to-movie adaptations of this year. Daisy Edgar Jones from Normal People has been cast as Kya Clark, the main character who grows up in the Marsh and is involved in a murder trial as a key suspect when a popular young man, Chase Andrews, is killed in town.

While Delia Owens has not lifted the entire story from her own life experiences, but in a strange coincidence, she too is wanted for questioning in a murder case. Delia, her husband Mark, and her stepson, Christopher are all wanted for questioning by the authorities in Zambia because of a murder of an alleged poacher. 

Delia Owens

(Image credit: William Campbell / Contributor / Getty Images)

Delia is an American conservationist and in 1995, the author and her family visited Zambia on an elephant conservation trip. During the same time they were in the country, an alleged poacher was shot and killed. 

Delia has denied any involvement in this murder case and told The Atlantic (opens in new tab), "We don’t know anything about it."

She added that the only involvement she and her family had with poachers was when they tried to scare them. "The only thing Mark ever did was throw firecrackers out of his plane, but just to scare poachers, not to hurt anyone." She also said that her stepson wasn't around at the time either. "Chris wasn’t there. We don’t even know where that event took place. It was horrible, a person being shot like that." Reportedly lawyers for her husband Mark and stepson Christopher Owens have also denied any wrongdoing or involvement.

It was confirmed by Zambia’s director of public prosecutions, Lillian Shawa-Siyuni, that even though it has been 27 years since this event, the Owens are still wanted for questioning. "There is no statute of limitations on murder in Zambia," said Lillian. "They are all wanted for questioning in this case, including Delia Owens."

The full story surrounding these events was documented in 1996 in an ABC Turning Point documentary titled Deadly Game: The Mark and Delia Owens Story.

Delia Owens

(Image credit: William Campbell / Contributor / Getty Images)

While this sounds suspicious and a full documentary was launched about Delia and her family's possible involvement in this case, it has since been confirmed that the Owens' are simply wanted for questioning for further information and officials do not believe they were 'directly involved' in the murder.

"Zambian authorities don’t believe Delia was directly involved in the murder or the disposal of the body. What they believe is that she’s the most important witness," revealed Jeffrey Goldberg, a journalist for The Atlantic, on the Today Show.

The film adaptation of Delia's best-selling novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, was released on Friday, July 22, 2022, in both the UK and US and has already received praise from fans. It is even rumored that it may appear on streaming services such as Netflix by the end of the year.

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.