An American writer, she is best known for Homestead, a novel set in an isolated village in Austria. The work won the 1999 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.
She received a PhD in linguistics from Princeton University and taught for over a decade.
A fiber artist, she had her work published in Quilting Arts Magazine.
She was born in Illinois. She and her husband had a daughter together.
She and Madison Smartt Bell both attended Princeton.