About me


I was born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, in 1943. I’ve lived in Big Spring, Texas; Columbia and Florence, South Carolina; Bakersfield and Sacramento, California; New York City; and Hoboken and Madison, New Jersey. Since 1992, I’ve lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with my wife Trisha Lester, a nonprofit executive. She was born in Washington DC and has lived in Managua, Nicaragua; Bogatá, Colombia; La Paz, Bolivia; and Taipei, Taiwan. I have a daughter, Lily, who since graduating from college in 2004 has lived in Brooklyn, Montreal, San Francisco, Jerusalem, Somerville. Massachusetts, the Cabbagetown section of Atlanta, and Black Mountain NC. She has a BA from Wesleyan, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and is working for a doctorate in religion at Emory University.

I worked as a journalist, novelist, and higher-education communications and development writer, and am now retired. I’ve written 21 published novels and have had one play and a group of 10-minute plays produced. Two of my novels were named Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review. You can find out more about my writing at handmadewords.wordpress.com

I walk and hike and read and go to the movies and watch a bunch of stuff on my iPad. My favorite movie is “Jules and Jim,” my favorite novel is The Raj Quartet, my favorite singers are Chet Baker and Patricia Barber.

Six people I would invite to dinner are Nico Muhly, Raphael Nadal, Mike Leigh, Gina McKee, Alison Bechdel, and Elizabeth Peyton. Hillary Mantel and Willie Nelson can come over for dessert if they’re in town.

in 2015, I was diagnosed with Atypical Parkinsonism. The diagnosis was changed in 2017 to apraxia.  (Later that year, my neurologist denied that he changed it, though both Trisha and I heard him.) To deal with whatever it is, I play drum rudiments, walk, play Pickle Ball, and study Irish.


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