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23 Baston Road English Department

North Yarmouth, ME 04097 Colby College

207-829-9392 Waterville, ME 04901

M.F.A. University of Iowa, 1986. Creative Writing (fiction).
B.A. Yale University, 1984. Philosophy.
Director, Program in Creative Writing, Colby College, Waterville, ME, 2000-2005, 2007-2010


Professor of English, Colby College, Waterville, ME, 2003-present

Associate Professor, Colby College, Waterville, ME, 1996-2003

Assistant Professor, Colby College, Waterville, ME, 1995-1996
Fiction Faculty, Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, Asheville, NC, 1996-present

Lecturer, Tufts University, Somerville, ME, 1989-1993

Lecturer, Emerson College, Boston, MA, 1989-1993

Lecturer, Museum School, Boston, MA, 1992-1993

Visiting Writer, University of Lowell, Lowell, ME, 1992

Visiting Writer, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, 1990

Instructor, Wheelock College, Boston, MA, 1988

Visiting Writer, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, 1987-88

Wisconsin Institute Fellow, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, 1986-1987

Graduate Teaching Fellow, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 1985-1986

Brief teaching stints at conferences and summer programs, including Haystack, Stonecoast Writers’ Conference, Cleveland State University, Vermont Studio Center, Maine Writers & Publishers Retreat, Voices of the North Country, Elgin Community College, Worcester Young Writers' Conference, Bennington Summer Writing Program, and The Telling Room. 1988-present
Senior Writer, Maine Home+ Design, 2009-present

Contributing Editor, Graywolf Press, St. Paul, MN, 1996-2002

Freelance Editor, Writer and Researcher, 1984-present

Projects include work for Maine Home+Design, Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc; American College Testing Service; Editorial Inc.; Document Development, Inc.; Ploughshares Magazine; Art New England Magazine; Faber and Faber; Phil Johnson Associates; Federation of American Research Networks; the University of Iowa Department of Education; the University of Massachusetts Press; Bedford Books; Adoption Network; and Agni Magazine, among others


Book Prizes

Finalist, Maine Literary Awards, 2013

Honorable Mention, New England Book Festival Prize, General Fiction, 2012

Finalist, ForeWord Book of the Year Award—General Fiction Category, 2009

Winner, Michigan Literary Fiction Prize, University of Michigan Press, 2008

Finalist, Binghamton University John Gardner Fiction Book Award, 2002

Winner, John Zacharis First Book Award, 1995

Fellowships and Grants

Finalist, Anna Akhmatova Award for Excellence, 2006

Fellow, Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College, 1992-1993

National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1990

Wisconsin Arts Board Grant, 1988

Wisconsin Institute Fellowship, University of Wisconsin, 1986-1987

Teaching-Writing Fellowship, University of Iowa, 1985-1986

Story and Essay Prizes

Finalist, Fall Narrative Magazine story contest, 2014

Finalist, Fall Narrative Magazine story contest, 2011

Second Place Winner, Winter Narrative Magazine story contest, 2011

Finalist, Narrative Magazine Story Award, 2009

Finalist, Narrative Magazine First Person Narrative Prize, 2008

Million Writer Award, Notable Stories, 2005

Winner, Pushcart Prize, Best of the Small Presses 1996

Cohen Award for best nonfiction in Ploughshares, volume year 18, 1993

Noted in “100 Distinguished Essays” in Best American Essays, 1993

Hugh J. Luke Award, Prairie Schooner, 1991

Noted in list of “100 Distinguished Stories” in Best American Short Stories in 1987, 1992, 2004

Noted in “100 Distinguished Essays” in Best American Essays in 1993

Pushcart Prize, Special Mention list in 1987, 1989, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009


Judge, Townsend Prize for Fiction, Georgia Perimeter College, 2016

Judge, The New Guard fiction contest, 2010

Judge, Hopwood Program, University of Michigan, 2007

Judge, Tara M. Kroger Award, The Ohio State University, 2004

Judge, The Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, fiction grant, 2002; nonfiction grant, 2006

Juror, Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists’ Grant, 2000, 2001, 2002

Judge, Baltimore ARTSCAPE Literary Arts Awards, 1999

Judge, Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists’ Grant, 1998

Judge, Loft-McKnight Awards in Creative Prose, 1995

Judge, Syracuse University Prize (Creative Writing Program), 1992

Judge, National Institute of Sciences, Arts and Letters, Wash D.C.Young Writers Award, 1988

Judge, Scholastic Writing Awards (Senior Division), 1997


Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2006

The MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH, 2006

Ucross Foundation, Ucross, WY, May 1988



Unknown Caller. Novel. LA: Louisiana State University (Yellow Shoe Fiction Series), 2016.
The Pretty Girl. Novella and stories. NY: Four Way Books, 2012.
Good for the Jews. Novel. Winner Michigan Literary Fiction Prize. MI: University of Michigan, 2009. 2010.
Curious Attractions: Essays on Writing. Nonfiction. MI: University of Michigan, 2005.
The Ghost of Bridgetown. Novel. MN: Graywolf, 2001.
Coconuts for the Saint. Novel. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1994.
IN: Engine Books, 2016.

London: Faber and Faber, 1996.

NY: Avon, 1996.

Received 1995 John Zacharis First Book Award from Emerson College/Ploughshares. Barnes & Noble BookSense Selection.

On the Tail of the Dog Star. Short fiction. Japan: Chikuma Shobo, 1990

Twenty Under Thirty: Best Stories by America's New Young Writers. Fiction anthology. Scribner's, 1986.

London: Penguin, 1987.

Italy: Loganesi, 1987.

Japan: Shobun Sha, 1987.

Spain: Edicions 62, 1987.

Reissued as Twenty Under Thirty: Early Works from Today’s Influential Writers NY: Scribner’s, 1996.


“The Phenomenology of Religion,” Gulf Coast, Fall 2015

“Two Blessings,” The Cincinnati Review, 2015

“Two Blessings,” The Cincinnati Review, Winter 2015

“Swiss Cottage,” Harvard Review: 46, 2014

“Little World,” Five Points, May/June 2012

“Maine Night,” narrative, June 2011

“I Should Let You Go,” Freight Stories, winter 2008

“Conservation,” Massachusetts Review, summer 2006; reprinted in Jennifer Rosner (ed.), The Messy Self (Colorado: Paradigm Press, 2006)

“A Wedding Story,”, fall 2005. reprinted in Wes McNair (ed.), Contemporary Maine Fiction, Down East Books, Fall 2005

“The Pretty Girl,” a novella, Gingko Tree Review, Fall 2004

“Lady of the Wild Beasts,” Ploughshares, Fall 2004; reprinted in Scott Miles (ed.) The Best Underground Fiction, vol 1 (Chicago: Stolen Time Publishing, 2006),

“The Revived Art of the Toy Theatre,” Agni, Fall 2003

“Chocolate Mice,” New England Review, Fall 1999

“Poor Millie,” The Green Mountain Review, Winter 1999-2000

“The Ghost of Bridgetown,” Ploughshares, Summer 1998

"Winter Light," Passages North, Fall 1994

"Maria Elena," The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, May 1, 1994; reprinted with essay in Peter Turchi and Andrea Barrett (eds.), The Story Behind the Story: Contemporary Writers and How They Work (NY: Norton, 2003)

"First Memory," Epoch, Winter 1995

"The Second World," Agni, Winter 1994

"The Spruce Tree," New Letters, Fall 1991

"The Year of Our Father," Prairie Schooner, Fall 1991

"The Language of Strangers," The Cream City Review, Winter 1989

"At Night, On the Island, In the Dark," The Madison Review, Fall 1988

"Grandfather's Business," Sundog: The Southeast Review, Fall 1987

"The Incorrect Hour," The North American Review, Summer 1986. Reprinted in The New

Generation (New York: Doubleday, 1987) and Waseda Bungaku (Japan, 1989)

"The Summer of the Dead Frogs," Esquire Summer Fiction Issue, 1985. Reprinted in SWITCH Magazine, (Japan, 1986) and The Esquire Fiction Reader, Vol II (MA: Wampeter Press, 1986)

Essays and Articles

“Protecting Calvin Trillin,” The Huffington Post Books, April 8, 2016

“Jump Already,” The Writers’ Chronicle, Sept/Oct 2016

“Surprise Me, “ The Writers’ Chronicle, May/June 2016

“The Dangerous Act of Writing,” Agni, spring 2015

“Why Do You Have to Be So Accomplished to Get Into College?” (op-ed) The Boston Globe, 1/02/15

“The Rise of Commercial Real Estate in Portland,” Maine Magazine, November 2014

“Raiding the Larder,” The Writers’ Chronicle, September 2014

“My Son’s Internet Rendezvous,”, February 14

“That’s Funny,” Fiction Writers Review, September 2013

“Size Matters,” Andrea Barrett and Peter Turchi (eds.), A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft (TX: Trinity University Press, 2011)

“46: A Journal,”, January 2011

“Recent, New, and Forthcoming: The Latest from Maine Writers,” Maine Magazine, Jan/Feb 2011

“Excerpt from 46, Seattle Review, Spring/Summer 2010

“Stranger Things,” The Writer’s Chronicle, September 2009

“Scared” in Luke Reynolds (ed.), Dedicated to the People of Darfur: Writings on Fear, Risk and Hope (NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2009)

“Vivian Gornick: The End of the Jew as Metaphor,” Radcliffe Quarterly, Summer 2008

“Dining Down East: Azure,” Down East, May 2008

“Rituals: Traditions Off the Beaten Path for a Jewish Christmas,” New York Times, December 14, 2007

Andrew Scott, “Interview with Debra Spark,” Writers Ask/Glimmer Train, Fall 2008, Winter 2008

“Size Matters,” POST ROAD, no. 15, 2007; reprinted in Andrea Barrett and Pete Turchi (eds.), A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft (TX: Trinity University Press, 2010)

“And Then Something Happened,” The Writer’s Chronicle, Oct/Nov 2007

“Dining Down East: Apollo’s Bistro,” Down East, June 2007

“Mind of Winter,” Architecture Boston, winter 2006

“Writing as Parlor Game” in Bret Anthony Johnston (ed.), Playing with Fire and Other Writing Exercises (NY: Random House, 2007)

“Confessions from a Dinner Party,” Living Without, Spring 2006

“Wedding Cake Exercise” in Sherry Ellis (ed.), Write Now (NY: Penguin/Tarcher, 2006)

“Staunch the Mush“ in Susan Neville and Michael Martone (eds.), Rules to Live By (NY: F&W Publications, 2006)

“I Remember: Mary Berry,”Down East, May 2005

“Stand Back,” The Writer’s Chronicle, May/Summer 2005

“Digging Up Maine’s Best Recipes,” Food and Wine, August 2005

“On Bernard Malamud,” in Mark Windegardner (ed.), 3X33: An Anthology of Short Fiction (Boston: Heinle, 2004)

“Dining Down East: Ribollita, Portland,” Down East, November 2003

“What Writers Read Their Kids,”, fall 2002

“Cheer Up—Why Don’t You?” The Writer’s Chronicle, October 2002

“The Harraseeket Inn, Freeport,” Down East, May 2002

“Interview with Monica Wood,” paperback edition of Monica Wood’s Secret Languages (NY: Bantam, 2002)

“Specialty of the House,” Yankee, November 2003

“Dining Down East: Street Smarts,” Down East, January 2002

“Fiction Exercises,”, October 2001

“Fresh-Picked Flavor,” New England Travel & Life, Fall/Winter 2001

“Nature: A Passion for Berries,” New England Travel & Life, Spring/Summer 2001

“Dining Down East: Hugos,” Down East, Mar 2001

“On the Trail of Vermont Shepherd,” Yankee, October 2001

“Little Women Writers,”, October 2000

“Cry, Cry, Cry: Handling Emotion in Fiction,” The Writer’s Chronicle, December 2000

“Down East Delicacies,” New England Travel & Life, Fall 2000

“The Maine Event,” Food and Wine, November 2000

“Legacy: Soul Survivor,” Food and Wine, August 2000

“Career Crossroads,” Continental, July 2000

“Aspects of the Short Novel,” The Writer’s Chronicle, May 1999

“Recollection,” Tom Grimes (ed.), The Workshop: Seven Decades of the Iowa Writers’Workshop (NY: Hyperion, 1999)

“The Trigger—What Gives Rise to a Story,” Creating Fiction: a complete guide from great writers and teachers of AWP (Ohio: Story Press, 1999)

“Is Your College-Bound Teen Headed for a Lifetime of Debt?” Coastlines, July/Aug 1998

“This New England: Where It Snowed in July,” Yankee, July 1998

“The Waters Run Even in Winter,” New York Times (Travel Section), February 22, 1998

"In Bed With a Book,” Michael Dorris and Emilie Buchwald (eds.), The Most Wonderful Books: Writers on the Pleasures of Reading

“Hiking in the Emmental,” New York Times (Travel Section), July 7, 1997

“Getting In and Getting Out: First Words on First (and Last) Words,” The Writer’s Chronicle, 5/97; reprinted in Charles Baxter and Pete Turchi (eds.), Bringing The Devil to His Knees (Univ of Michigan Press, 2001)

“Curious Attractions: Magical Realism’s Fate in the States,” The Writer’s Chronicle, December 1996

“Traveling with Adult Siblings," New York Times (Travel Section), November 13, 1984

“Last Things," Ploughshares, Fall 1994; reprinted in Sister to Sister (Doubleday, 1996); The Pushcart Prize XX (Pushcart, 1996); A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies MN: Hazelden Publishers, 1998, 2000); Life Studies (Boston: Bedford Books, 2001); Sorrows Company (Beacon Press, 2001); Healing (NY: Tarcher/Putnam, 2001);

Narrative Magazine (2013)

“The Lure of the West, " Ploughshares, Winner of 1993 Cohen Prize, Winter 1992

House Articles
Maine Home+Design

“Lean, Serene, and Green,” March 2016

“Design Among Friends,” February 2016

“The New Vintage,” January 2016

“Relaxed Luxury,” December 2015

“Refined Rustic,” November 2015;

“Space, Land, and Vistas,” October 2015

“Moody Hues,” October 2015

“Eclectic Farmhouse,” September 2015

“Fab Prefab,” August 2015

“Happy House,” July 2015

“All in Bloom,” June 2015

“Design Maestros,” May 2015

“Music in the Making,” April 2015

“Generations Joined,” March 2015

“Once More to the Beach,” Feb 2015

“Assembling the Past,” Dec 2014

“Mountain Magic,” Nov 2014

“Learning on the Mountain and Off,” November 2014

“Boldly Modern,” Sept 2014

“Rustic Update,” Sept 2014

“Design is in the Details,” Aug 2014

“American Vernacular, American Contemporary,” July 2014

“Garden by the Sea,” June 2014

“Vintage Tourism,” May 2014

“Family Heirloom in Kennebunk,”May 2014

“North Haven Archive,” April 2014

“Building a Creative Community,” April 2014

“New Found Farm,” March 2014

“Industrial Chic,” March 2014

“Cosmopolitan Cottage,” February 2014

“Cape Porpoise Pied-à-Terre,” January 2014

“Getting to Know the Land,” January 2014

“A Three Dimensional Puzzle,” December 2013

“Q and A: Simon Dumont,” November 2013

“Healthy Home,” September 2013

“Streamlined Space,” August 2013

“A Sequence of Surprises,” July 2013

“Sumptuous Simplicity,” 2013

“Sustainable Style,” June 2013

“Earthy Chic,” May 2013
“Cottage by the Sea,” May 2013

“Art in Its Place,” April 2013

“Dreamy Days at Wooster Farm,” April 2013

“Mid-Century Modern,” March 2013

“Simple Lines and Bright Spaces, March 2013

“Classic With a Twist,” February 2013

“Profile: Wonders in Wood,” January 2013

“Air and Light,” January 2013

“His and Hers Houses,” December 2012

“Lakeside Refuge,” November 2012

“Happy Home,” October 2012

“Stonington Shingle,” October 2012

“Stone Fantasy,” July 2012

“Cottage Classic,” July 2012

“Coastal Contemporary,” June 2012

“Hospitable Home,” May 2012

“Boom Town,” May 2012

“A Gifted Educator,” April 2012

“House of Many Visions,” March 2012

“Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn,” Jan/Feb 2012

“From the Ground Up: Todd Richardson,” Nov/Dec 2011

“A Marriage of Styles,” October 2011

“A Fairy Tale Estate,” Sept 2011

“Shipshape on the Shore,” Aug 2011

“Victorian Charm,” July 2011

“East Meets West,” June 2011

“Falmouth Flyer,” March 2011

“Life Inside the Lightbox,” Jan/Feb 2011

“Nestled in Newry,” Jan/Feb 2011

“Designing the Details: Will Winkelman,” Nov/Dec 2010

“Maine Art, Maine Color,” Sept 2010

“Modern Craftsman,” Sept 2010

“Total Transformation,” July 2010

“Rockport Victorian,” July 2010

“Bold Stewardship,” June 2010

“Standing Grand,” May 2010

“Seaside Sophistication,” March 2010

“Long-Distance Design,” March 2010

“Fireplace Artistry,” Jan/Feb 2010

“New At Mere Point,” Nov/Dec 2009

“The Moss Manse: Taking John Calvin Stevens to Boothbay,” Sept 2009

“A Family Affair: Designing for Generations,” August 2009

“Wrestling With Style,” June 2009

“Now You’re Cooking!” May 2009

“Hail to the Chief,” March 2009

“A Beacon of Green Design,” March 2009

Architecture Boston

“Mind of Winter,” winter 2006

“Thomas Moser’s Home,” April 2004

“Fairy-Tale Cottage,” September 2003
Instructors’ Manuals
for Life Studies, 5th ed; Life Studies, 6th ed; Life Studies, 7th edition and The Springfield Reader (Boston: Bedford Books, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001)


co-translator of Valery Shevchuk's "The Moon's Cuckoo from the Swallow's Nest," Glas:

New Ukranian Writing, 11/96

co-translator of Lei Luu’s A Time Far Past (Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1997)

Book reviews:
San Francisco Chronicle

Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman, 7/11/10

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, 5/09/10

Day After Night by Anita Diamant, 10/05/09

The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee, 1/25/09

When to Walk by Rebecca Gowers, 11/09/07

Shining at the Bottom of the Sea by Stephen Marche, 8/5/07

I Think of You by Adhaf Souief, 4/10/07

Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks, 9/20/06

The World to Come by Dara Horn, 1/22/06

Wicketts’ Remedy by Myla Goldberg, 10/02/05

The Testing of Luther Albright by MacKenzie Bezos, 8/07/05

The Bright Forever by Lee Martin, 6/05/05

Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley, 4/9/2000
Down East

Asta in the Wings by Jan Elizabeth Watson, Jan 2010

East Hope by Katharine Davis, April 2009

Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand. Sept 2007

View from a Burning Bridge by Sarah Goodyear, May 2007

I Remember Running: The Year I Got Everything I Ever Wanted—And ALS by Darcy Wakefield, June 2006

Finding Annie Farrell by Beth Harpaz, April 2004

Sonata for Miriam by Linda Olsson, Summer 2009

Wrestling with Angels by John Clayton,, April 2008
Women’s Review of Books

You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of the Jewish Mother by Joyce Antler, March/April 2008

Out of Joint by Mary Felstiner, Body Politic by Limi Sinton, and All in My Head by Paula Kamen, May/June 2006

Beautiful as the Moon, Radiant as the Stars: Jewish Women in Yiddish Stories edited by Sandra Bark. Women’s Review of Books, Fall 2004

Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick, Winter 2004/5

Radcliffe Quarterly

Love Among the Greats by Edith Pearlman, Summer 2003

The Caprices by Sabina Murray, Winter 2002

Come Up and See Me Sometime by Erika Krouse, Winter 2001
Washington Post Book World

The Ladies Auxliary by Tova Mirvis, 12/12/99

Plan B for the Middle Class by Ron Carlson, 9/92
The Chicago Tribune

The Voyage by Philip Caputo, 11/7/99
The Boston Book Review

Waiting by Ha Jin, 12/1999
Publishers Weekly

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, Fall 1997
Baltimore City Paper

Emerald City by Jennifer Egan, 4/96

Walking on Air by R.S. Jones, 5/96

But Is It Art? The Spirit of Art as Activism edited by Nina Felshin (ed), 11/95
New York Times

Polite Society by Melanie Sumner, 4/16/95
Boston Review

The Flight of Andy Burns by Alice Mattison, 6/1993

Marine Life by Linda Svendsen, Winter 1993

The Lover of History by Jonathan Dee, Fall 1992
Prairie Schooner

Growing Up Western by Clarus Backus, Winter 1991

The Boston Sunday Globe

Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler, 10/91
Harvard Review

Shadow Play by Charles Baxter, Winter 1993

Wanting Only to Be Heard by Jack Driscoll, Spring 1993

Black Dogs by Ian McEwan, Winter 1993

The North China Lover by Marguerite Duras, Winter 1993

The Living by Annie Dillard, Fall 1992

The Writer on Her Work, Vol 2 edited by Janet Sternberg and Inter/view edited by Pearlman and Henderson, Spring 1991

The House on Alexandrine by Stephen Dobyns, Summer/Fall 1990

Friend of My Youth by Alice Munro, Win/Spring 1990
Hungry Mind

A Farm Under the Lake by Martha Bergland, Fall 1989

Cold Feet by Patricia Weaver Francisco, Fall 1987

Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons, Fall 1987

Fast Lanes by Jayne Anne Phillips, Summer 1987

The Boston Phoenix

Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman, 9/90

The Expendables by Antonya Nelson, 1/90

Ordinary Time by A.G. Mojtabai, 12/89

The Storytellers by Mario Vargas Llosa, 11/89

Pretend We Never Met and Bend This Heart by Jonis Agee, 8/89
The Wisconsin Academy Review

In the Music Library by Ellen Hunnicutt, Fall 1988
Selected Blogs

Beyond the Margins, Happy Endings, Jewish Book Council: The Prosen People, The Quivering Pen

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