Accomplished author and drama critic, Stark Young was born in Como, Mississippi, the son of the local doctor. He spent his first fourteen years surrounded by Como relatives that influenced his work.
After he finished his preparatory schooling in Oxford, he entered the University of Mississippi at the age of 15 and graduated from that institution in 1901 with a B.A. in Latin and Greek. He completed his Master's Degree at Columbia University in 1902, majoring in English but also taking courses in theater and drama.
A strong student, he took courses in English literature, Latin, and history, along with the required work in science and mathematics. He joined a fraternity, wrote poetry, and edited the college annual. Young had no interest in athletics; and despite references in his poetry to romantic scenes with girls, he had few dates. His homosexual tendencies may have begun to trouble him during this period.
Young taught at the University of Mississippi in 1905-1907 and then moved to the University of Texas where he established the Texas Review and became involved with theater. In 1915 he moved to Amherst College where he taught English until he resigned to pursue other interests in 1921 and moved to New York City, New York.
In New York he became a free-lance writer. He joined the editorial staff of the New Republic and remained there for the rest of his career, also doing work for the New York Times and the Theatre Arts Magazine until his retirement in 1947. During this period he was involved with the theater in New York and wrote several plays.
He became well known as a drama critic and also began to write plays and fiction. He wrote the final essay in the Agrarian literary group manifesto, I'll Take My Stand. By the late 1930s, Stark gave up writing fiction and confined his writing to editing and translation.
In the 1940s Young, a self-taught artist, began painting and was the subject of two one-man exhibitions in New York. His paintings were shown in four important galleries including the Chicago Institute of Art which purchased one of his paintings for the permanent collection.
In 1951 he published his reminiscences in The Pavilion which was dedicated to his friend Allen Tate. Young received the Order of the Crown of Italy for a series of lectures on American theater given in Italian as a Westinghouse Lecturer in Italy.
He served on the board of New York University and is a member of that institution's Hall of Fame. He was a recipient of Brandeis University's Creative Arts Medallion and the South Eastern Theatre Conference's Distinguished Career Award.
Young suffered a stroke in May 1959, and died in New York. He is buried in Friendship Cemetery in Como, Mississippi.