MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2016
I was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I studied creative writing and was a Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures major. In 1997 I became the managing editor of the award-winning magazine DoubleTake. After DoubleTake, I joined the Washington Post Magazine in 1999, where I am currently the deputy editor.
I have taught creative writing at the Harvard Extension school and literary journalism in American University's MFA program. My short stories have appeared in anthologies Virgin Fiction, which gathered the winners of a Salon.com fiction contest for writers under 30; Long Story Short: Flash Fiction by Sixty-five of North Carolina's Best Writers; District Lines - a literary journal of Washington writers; and Salamander. In the 2016 edition of Best American Travel Writing, my story "Swiss Dream," about my search for a rare musical instrument in Switzerland, will be re-published.
In 2011, my debut novel, The Train of Small Mercies, which unfolds on the day of Robert Kennedy's funeral train, was published by Putnam. I was featured on NPR's "Weekend Edition' talking about the novel and have been on NPR's "All Things Considered" and twice a guest on "Tell Me More." I am currently working on a novel and also a nonfiction book about how and why we make the music we do.