Larry Brown (July 9, 1951–November 24, 2004) was an American writer who was born and lived in Oxford, Mississippi. Brown wrote fiction and nonfiction. He graduated from high school in Oxford but did not go to college. Many years later, he took a creative writing class from the Mississippi novelist Ellen Douglas. Brown served in the United States Marine Corps from 1970 to 1972. On his return to Oxford, he worked at a small stove company before joining the city fire department.
An avid reader, Brown began writing in his spare time while he worked as a firefighter (at City Station No.1 on North Lamar Blvd.) in Oxford in 1980. The nonfiction book On Fire describes how Brown, having trouble with sleeping at the fire station, would stay up to read and write while the other firefighters slept. His duties as a firefighter included answering fire alarms at Rowan Oak—the home of William Faulkner, now a museum—and the University of Mississippi campus. By his own account, Brown wrote five unpublished novels, including one that he always used as an example to younger writers about a man-eating bear loose in Yellowstone Park, and hundreds of short stories before he began to publish. His first published work was a short story that appeared in the June 1982 issue of biker magazine Easyriders. His first books were two collections of short stories: Facing the Music (1988) and Big Bad Love (1990). After 1990, Brown turned to writing full time and increasingly turned to the novel as his primary form. Brown's novels include Dirty Work (1989), Father and Son (1996), Joe (1991), Fay (2000), and The Rabbit Factory (2003).
In March 2007, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill published Brown's unfinished novel A Miracle of Catfish. Although Brown died before finishing the book, the final page of the published version includes his notes about how he wanted the novel to end. The novel also includes a lengthy introduction by Brown's editor, Shannon Ravenel, discussing her work on the project and her work with Brown over the years. Except for the novel The Rabbit Factory, all of Brown's books were published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing. The paperback editions of Brown's early works were published by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, although other paperback houses picked up his later works.