EA Crawley (they/them) writes for all the queer kids who have been made to feel complex, incomprehensible, and broken, when really we are simplicity itself: knowable, vulnerable, lovable. Specifically, they often write for the kids who had a dial-up connection, with work that tends towards humor as healing, love without hierarchy, chosen kinship, and magic as an exploration of the power we wield when we tell the truth of our whole self, even if we grew up isolated or without the exact words. Originally from the Midwest, Crawley now lives near Seattle. They are a PhD in Modern British History and Science and Technology Studies and a 2019 graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop.
Crawley began wandering around outdoors, telling stories, and casting tiny wizard spells at age four, and basically haven’t stopped since, although their storytelling has taken different shapes over the years as their understanding of self has necessarily evolved.
As a teen and new adult, for instance, they thought they were going to be an opera singer, and told stories on stage. But the performance of stage femininity began to rasp, and there just weren’t enough pants roles (male characters sung by mezzo-sopranos) to fill their growing need for masc presentation.
So, in their twenties, Crawley leaned into vests and ties and oxfords and started telling stories in seminar papers, conference presentations, lectures, and a dissertation that investigated the historical roots of medicalized gender in the 19th century British carceral asylum system. (More on that project below.)
But in their thirties, they’ve returned to those childhood spells, realizing they’ve always wanted to write fiction–sharp, folkloric, funny, queer, speculative fiction. So, now they’re focusing on that, putting what they learned at Clarion West 2019 into action, building and inhabiting their beloved worlds:
First, an alt-Victorian London, where their love for text—archival, educational, and fantastic—has collided in a dissertation-turned-novel project that reveals how power brokers in late-19th-century England embedded gender within psychiatric practice and diagnosis, codifying and medicalizing toxic masculinity as “wellness.” The end goal of this work is to demonstrate that there is dismantling power in knowing where this restrictive, dangerous version of “wellness” came from, and to encourage new, expansive possibilities for gender, wellness, and historical method.
And more recently and actively, a Magical Midwest, where qualified nostalgia collides with reclamation in Axle, IL, a fictional small town in Central Illinois dotted with haunted antique shops, surrounded by fae-riddled cornfields, and absolutely pulsing with opportunities for queer mentorship, friendship, allyship, and–in the hands of intrepid hero, Ash Cullinane–insistence on self from the first inklings. These stories take place across Ash’s transition, hopefully demonstrating what one non-binary person’s journey can look like, especially when up against the limits of language. Therefore, you’ll see Ash with various pronouns across this body of work, but in all online conversation and interview material as they/them, where they eventually find a home.
Crawley’s loves outside of built worlds include teaching, tea, PNW forest walks, anime, cooking, gardening, and running.
They/them pronouns, even if you’re just gossiping about Crawley over tea.