Many of his stories are based on his childhood experiences in rural Georgia during the Great Depression. Burch Elementary School in Tyrone is named for him. In 1943 he joined the army.
Burch began writing in New York City in the early 1960s.
According to Dictionary of Literary Biography, his best books feature "realistic details of country and small town life in middle and northern Georgia" during the Great Depression, the setting of his own childhood. "His books are infused with his genial, optimistic view of life while maintaining a realistic, nonsentimental, serious, and moralistic approach.".