An American writer of historical fiction, he is best known for his National Book Award-winning Civil War novel, Cold Mountain. His other literary works include Thirteen Moons (2007) and Nightwoods (2011).
He earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of South Carolina.
He raised horses on a farm in North Carolina.
He and his wife, Catherine, became parents to a daughter named Annie.
His novel, Cold Mountain, was made into a feature film starring Jude Law.