About Me

20110318-selfportrait006My debut novel THE NIX will be published next year by Knopf. The story follows one family’s experience over generations and geographies, and through cultural moments such as World War II Norway, the Chicago Riots of 1968, the Gulf War, Occupy Wall Street, and the virtual environments of the massively multi-player online gaming world of Elfquest.

My short stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, AGNI, Gulf Coast, The Denver Quarterly, Fugue, The Gettysburg Review, and many other journals. I was the winner of the annual Short Story Prize from the journal Fiction for my story “The Bottle.” Last year, The Iowa Review nominated my story “SuperAngel” for a Pushcart Prize. I was also a finalist for the Donald Barthelme Prize in Short Prose.


I’m a native Iowan, but I grew up all over the Midwest: Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas. After college, I spent a good amount of time in New England,  New York City, and South Florida. But now I live in St. Paul, Minnesota, and spend my summers in Chicago.


I am Associate Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas, where I’ve taught creative writing & literature courses. I’m currently on leave from St. Thomas in order to focus exclusively on writing for a while. I hold a BA in English and Journalism from the University of Iowa and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Odd Jobs

Before joining the faculty at St. Thomas, I taught writing at Florida Gulf Coast University. Before that, I worked at the Academy of American Poets in New York City, editing and designing the website Poets.org. I’ve also worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist, a web designer, and, a long time ago, a movie theater projectionist.