An American fiction writer, she is best known for novels such as The Secret History (1992) and The Little Friend (2002). She was the 2003 recipient of the W.H. Smith Literary Award.
She studied writing at Bennington College and published her debut novel, The Secret History, in 1992.
She published a poem in the Mississippi literary review when she was just thirteen years old.
She was raised in Grenada, Mississippi.
She met Bret Easton Ellis in college; the two were romantically involved for a time.