Allen Young has lived in Royalston, Massachusetts, since 1973, coming with several friends to the North Quabbin region of central Massachusetts as part of the back-to-the-land movement. He helped build his own octagonal timber-framed house, has hiked and canoed throughout the region, and has cultivated a productive organic vegetable garden.
He first experienced forests, waterfalls, and gardening during his childhood on a poultry farm in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains in New York State, where he was born in 1941. After graduating from Fallsburgh Central High School, he attended Columbia College in New York City, receiving the bachelor of arts degree in 1962. He earned a master of arts degree in Hispanic-American and Luso-Brazilian studies from Stanford University in California and a master of science degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Upon receiving a Fulbright Scholarship in 1964, he spent three years in Brazil and other Latin American countries, contributing articles to the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and other periodicals.
Returning to the United States in 1967, he worked briefly as a reporter for the Washington Post, resigning in the fall of that year to become a full-time anti-war activist and staff member of Liberation News Service. In 1970, following the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City, Young participated in the gay liberation movement, collaborating with lesbian writer and scholar Karla Jay on four books, including the pioneering anthology Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation.
After returning to his rural roots, Young became a reporter for the Athol Daily News, later serving as assistant editor. He launched Millers River Publishing Company in 1983 to produce his regional guidebook North of Quabbin. He published more than a dozen titles, most by other authors, after that. Haley s published his North of Quabbin Revisited in 2003. From 1989 to 1999, he was the director of community relations for Athol Memorial Hospital.
He was a co-founder of the North Quabbin Diversity Awareness Group. In 1998, he was the first recipient of the North Quabbin Community Coalition s Barbara Corey Award in honor of his passion for life, his values, and his love for the citizens of our region. In 2004, he received the Writing and Society Award from the University of Massachusetts English Department honoring a distinguished career of commitment to the work of writing in the world.
He was invited by the Erving Paper Mills to write the official company history for its 2005 centennial. Other books of local interest include The Millers River Reader, which he edited, and Make Hay While the Sun Shines: Farms, Forests, and People of the North Quabbin. His most recent book is Thalassa: One Week in a Provincetown Dune Shack. He has served in Royalston town government as a member of various boards and is chair of the town s Democratic committee. He is a volunteer for the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, including many years as a member of its board of directors.
Young considers himself semi-retired and continues to enjoy gardening and travel as well as writing. His column, Inside/Outside, appears weekly in the Athol Daily News.