Mary Akers

Mary Akers is the founder and executive director of Hermit House, a non-profit organization with a mission to “Keep Wild Hermit Crabs Wild” by establishing a viable captive breeding program so that hermit crabs will no longer be captured from their tropical homes to be marketed as inexpensive ‘starter’ pets for children. She is the first person to successfully breed land hermit crabs in large enough numbers to effect change within the industry. In 2019, she created CRAB CON an annual,  international hermit crab conference, bringing together hobbyists, scientists, and hermit crab enthusiasts.

Wearing her “author hat,” Akers published two short story collections and a non-fiction book that sold in seven countries. Her written work frequently focuses on the intersections between art and science, including such topics as the environmental movement and the struggle for human and animal rights. Akers has been a Bread Loaf work-study scholar and a VCCA fellow. Her creative work is repped by Zoe Sandler at ICM.

Akers was formally trained as a production potter and today uses these skill to make one-of-a-kind clay items that ship all over the world to enhance the artful ‘crabitats’ of dedicated hermit crab enthusiasts.

In 1999, Akers co-founded the Institute for Tropical Marine Ecology, a marine field station and research center originally located in Roseau, Dominica. For recreation she enjoys snorkeling, hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering. Akers has worked as a bookbinder in Colonial Williamsburg, a potter on Historic Jamestown Island, an art teacher in Hawaii, a fabric seller, and a cook in a nursing home. She has lived many places but was raised in Virginia’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and will always call them home.

Photo by Bridget Baker


The Deep Blue Ridge, by Japhanie Gray

Crabs All the Way Down, by Rachael Cusick

The Miraculous Journey of a Captive-Bred Hermit Crab, by Samantha Edmonds

New World Writing, March 2016
The Iowa Review reviews Bones, 2016
Interview, Newfound Journal
PANK reviews Bones, 2014
The Story Prize Blog, 2014
Interview, Ashland Creek Press
Interview, Perpetual Folly
Dear Teen Me, 2012
LCTV Author Interview, 2009
Storyglossia Interview
Mid-American Review
Get Lit!
Niagara Living