true stories that read like great fiction.

. . .

I am a writer and scholar with a Ph.D. in literature from Columbia University and the author of The Virginia Woolf Writers Workshop; the poetry collection Desert Elegy; and An African in Imperial London, which won the High Plains Book Award for Nonfiction. My new book The Girl Prince: Virginia Woolf, Race, and the Dreadnought Hoax will be coming out in the autumn of 2023.


As an undergraduate, I studied literature and creative writing at the University of California, San Diego. Later, I moved to New York. where I earned a Ph.D. in British literature at Columbia University and was awarded a Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities and a Bennett Cerf Award for my work on Virginia Woolf.  I also had the good fortune to win the Jovanovich Prize for poetry from the University of Colorado. I have been a finalist for a few things, too, including theBreadloaf Poetry Prize and the PEN/Nelson Algren in Fiction.

I also been a teacher for, oh my gosh, nearly forty years. I love, love, love British literature-everything from William Shakespeare and Jane Austen to Virginia Woolf and Zadie Smith. Woolf coined the phrase “moments of being” to describe those all too brief episodes when one is able to transcend the commonplace and touch a richer, more essential human experience.  In my life, these moments have happened most often in a classroom.  There, as both student and teacher, I have felt the thrill of discovery and the flush of understanding.  Such epiphanies don’t occur every day, but walking into a classroom knowing they are possible makes teaching profoundly fulfilling.

Teaching creative writing is also one of my joys in life.  I believe creativity is an essential human activity, and there is nothing I like better than helping people nurture theirs.  That’s why I wrote The Virginia Woolf Writer’s Workshop: Seven Lessons to Inspire Great Writing and The Whimsical Muse: Poetic Play for Busy Creatives. 

When I’m not at my desk, you’ll find me walking my border collie mix Bella, reading, volunteering, or puttering around in the garden (when it’s not covered with snow of course.)