There’s much we need in our short lives: nourishing food, clean water and air, comfortable shelter, meaningful work, reliable love. Getting and keeping these things can make us circumscribe our lives tightly, to the point of isolation. I write fiction, nonfiction, and the occasional poem that strives to keep us open to each other, to history, to justice, to joy, and to the surprising and transformative nature of existence. How can we best care for one another in the face of space-time’s brutal beauty? My work chases that question.
If you want creds:
I'm the author of three novels: Nina: Adolescence (Putnam 2003), The Priest's Madonna (Putnam 2006), and After the Dam (Red Hen Press 2016). My writing has been translated into Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Indonesian and has won awards from the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), Creative Nonfiction, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Illinois Arts Council. I've placed work in many publications, including The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, The Writers’ Chronicle, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. I earned my M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and I teach at the University of Illinois and in the University of Nebraska’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program. I grew up in Massachusetts, and now live in Urbana, Illinois, where I sing with my band, The Jaybirds, and bother my children.