Cranor to Serve as Writer in Residence at ATU

Eli Cranor
Eli Cranor

Author and Russellville native Eli Cranor will join the Arkansas Tech University College of Arts and Humanities as writer in residence and instructor in the ATU Department of English and World Languages beginning with the fall 2023 semester.

Cranor has written two novels — “Don’t Know Tough” and “Ozark Dogs” — and he has teaching experience at the K-12 level.

“Eli has gained considerable and well-deserved praise for his talent as a writer,” said Dr. Jeff Cass, dean of the ATU College of Arts and Humanities. “He will serve as a role model and mentor for aspiring authors in our student body. Collaborations such as this are important because they help a diverse community of writers gain the knowledge and confidence necessary to step forward and tell the story of our region and our times.”

Cranor’s debut novel, “Don’t Know Tough,” won the Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel Contest. It was named to USA Today’s list of Best Books of the Year and one of the New York Times’ Best Crime Novels of 2022. Mystery Writers of America selected Cranor as the winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best first novel by an American author.

Publisher Soho Crime describes “Ozark Dogs” as a “Southern thriller” in which “two families grapple with the aftermath of a murder in their small Arkansas town.” It was published in April 2023 and has since become a national bestseller.

Cranor played college football at Florida Atlantic University and Ouachita Baptist University. He played professional football and was a high school football coach. Today, he lives in his hometown with his wife and children. Cranor plans on incorporating his life experiences in his fall 2023 Introduction to Film course at ATU.

Cranor’s weekly slice of life column, “Where I’m Writing From,” is published by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and his craft column, “Shop Talk,” appears monthly at

Learn more about Cranor at

Learn more about the ATU College of Arts and Humanities at