A twentieth-century American author of novels set in the fictional Ozark Mountains town of "Stay More," he is best known for works such as Ekaterina (1993) and The Pitcher Shower (2005). He was the recipient of both the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction and the Porter Prize for Literary Excellence.
He taught art history at several universities, including his alma mater, The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
He suffered from meningitis at the age of twelve; as a result, he lost most of his hearing.
He grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was married to Kim Harington.
He won the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction.