I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Queens. As a first-generation college student at Fairfield University, I intended to major in engineering but fell in love with writing. I majored in English with a double concentration in literature and creative writing, then earned an M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Since then, I have published a book of short stories and three novels, most recently The Senator's Children (Tin House Books, 2017). I have published over 40 short stories in magazines including Esquire, Zoetrope: All-Story, Tin House, The Southern Review, AGNI, and The Gettysburg Review. One of my stories was reprinted in The Pushcart Prize and four others were cited as distinguished stories in The Best American Short Stories. I'm grateful to have received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, MacDowell, Yaddo, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
My next book, If There Are Any Heavens: A Memoir, will be published in 2022.
I have been a professor at F&M since 2002. I believe that almost every aspect of writing can be learned through close reading, practice, and paying attention. Those aspects of writing that can't be taught—courage and vision—can be modeled and encouraged. My workshops are safe spaces that value freedom of expression, respect, support, and risk. There are stories you are singularly positioned to write, and my goal as a teacher is to help you locate and write those stories as well as you can.
My favorite book is Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson.
If There Are Any Heavens: A Memoir (Persea, 2022)
The Senator's Children: a novel (Tin House Books, 2017)
The Book of Why: a novel (Little, Brown, 2013)
If the Sky Falls: stories (LSU Press, 2005)
A Fine Place: a novel (Context Books, 2002)
- Review of The Senator's Children from The New York Times
- Review of The Book of Why from The Washington Post
- Review of If the Sky Falls from The New York Times Book Review
- Review of A Fine Place from The Chicago Tribune
- Conversation with Eric Puchner from Poets and Writers
- Review-essay from Los Angeles Review of Books on grief memoirs
- "Feeding the Lake," an essay from The Huffington Post
- ENG225: Intro to Creative Writing
- ENG250: Contemporary American Short Story
- ENG263: Contemporary American Novel
- ENG271: Contemporary Autobiography
- ENG371: Novel Writing
- ENG381: Writing Fiction
- ENG480: Advanced Creative Writing Workshop.
ENG225 Introduction to Creative Writing
T/R 12:45-2:05 pm in Keiper 208
ENG381 Writing Fiction
T/R 10:00-11:20 am in Ware102
ENG480 Advanced Creative Writing Workshop
M 1:30-4:20 pm in Boncheck 103
Tuesdays & Thursdays: 2:10-2:50 pm
Fridays: 1:30-2:30 pm
and by appointment.