About me

author photo of Caleb Crain, 30 June 2022, photo credit Peter Terzian

My name is Caleb Crain. I’m a novelist. I’m also into Cross Fit and birding. I was born in Texas, grew up in Massachusetts, and currently live in Brooklyn with my husband, Peter Terzian. In 2022, I was awarded n+1 magazine’s Anthony Veasna So Fiction Prize.

Recently in print: “Keats at Twenty-Four” (The New Yorker), “Pemaquid Lighthouse Revisited” (The Atlantic), “The Letter” (The Paris Review), “Sallies” (New York Review of Books), “The Ellipse Maker” (n+1), and “Easter” (The New Yorker).

If the spirit of any of this appeals to you, please try one of my novels, Necessary Errors and Overthrow, and if you like it, tell a friend!

Here’s a longer list of my stories, poems, and articles, and here are links to my writing in The Atlantic, Harper’s, Little Star, the London Review of Books, n+1, The Nation, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review, and the Paris Review. In a previous life, I wrote a scholarly study, American Sympathy: Men, Friendship, and Literature in the New Nation (Yale, 2001).

You can send a message to me through the form at the bottom of this page. I’m represented by the Wylie Agency. I’m not on Facebook, and I’ve given up on Twitter. For the moment I’m on Instagram, Mastodon, and Bluesky. The easiest way to keep track of me is to subscribe to my newsletter, which is called Leaflet, and has essays and photos.

The title of this blog comes from The Trippings of Tom Pepper, a novel by Charles Frederick Briggs first serialized in 1846. The hero, a boy named Tom Pepper, has stowed away on a schooner. The sailors hear him knocking things over and decide he’s a ghost. This puts them in a melancholy mood, and one evening in the forecastle they reminisce about the good old days, while the hidden Tom Pepper eavesdrops. One of them says, self-pityingly, “Steamboats are ruining everything.” What I love about the quote is that you get the sense that Briggs, who was himself a runaway sailor in his youth, like his friend Melville, thinks the same thing, but prudently puts the sentiment into the mouth of a superstitious, nostalgic old coot.

The image in the left sidebar and again in the footer is of the steamboat The Royal Tar, which caught fire and sank in Penobscot Bay on October 25, 1836; a menagerie of wild animals on board perished. The engraving is from Steamboat Disasters and Railroad Accidents in the United States (Worcester, 1846).


Please use this form if you’d like to get in touch.