I was born in New York City in 1965. I decided I wanted to be a fiction writer when I was five years old and spent my childhood and adolescence learning how to tell stories. At Cornell University I wrote what would become my first published novel, Fool on the Hill, as my senior thesis in Honors English. My professor Alison Lurie helped me find an agent, and within six months of my college graduation Fool on the Hill had been sold to Atlantic Monthly Press. Through a combination of timely foreign rights sales, the generous support of family and friends, occasional grant money, and a slowly accumulating backlist, I’ve managed to make novel-writing my primary occupation ever since.
My third novel, Set This House in Order, marked a critical turning point in my career after it won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, a Washington State Book Award, and a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, and helped me secure a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. My fourth novel, Bad Monkeys, also won multiple awards; it is currently under development as a Universal Studios film, with Margot Robbie attached to star. My sixth novel, Lovecraft Country, has been adapted as an HBO series by Misha Green, Jordan Peele, and J.J. Abrams.
In 1998 I married my best friend, the researcher and rare-book expert Lisa Gold. We live in Seattle, Washington.
Related: “An Interesting Moral Education”