An American writer, he is best known for such short story collections as Welcome to the Arrow-Catcher Fair and The All-Girl Football Team.
He received his M.A. from Mississippi State University and his Ph.D. from Auburn University in Alabama.
His novel, Wolf Whistle, won the Southern Book Award.
He was raised by parents Lemuel and Sara Bayles in Mississippi.
He and Gunter Grass both wrote works that included elements of magic realism.