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About Me


My ambition, on graduating from Yale University, was to work on a dude ranch in Wyoming. Failed. After a dozen years as an editor of scholarly books, at Oxford and Duke University Presses, I did a stint in college admissions at Duke, and quit to write about that brutalizing rite of passage. I’ve since published five more books of nonfiction and a young adult novel.


For many years I wrote for Running Times magazine. My work has appeared in various and diverse places, including The New York Times, The LA Times, Ploughshares, Glamour, Inside Higher Ed, Reader’s Digest, Runner’s World, Ascent, JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association), AARP The Magazine and a variety of academic publications. My essays have been selected as Notable three times in Best American Sports Writing, once in Best American Essays, and in 2017 I received a Special Mention for the Pushcart Prize.


I wrote  for The Chronicle of Higher Education for 26 years and am now a contributing editor at Inside Higher Ed, where I write a weekly newsletter for college and university presidents.

Currently a professor of Creative Writing of Eastern Washington University, I live in Spokane with my husband Toby and (rescue) dog Harry.

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