I was born and raised in Mastic Beach, NY and attended William Floyd High School where I received my first writing award while serving in-school suspension for truancy. So much for that.
Born of Irish descent, I studied writing and literature through the University of Arkansas Writing Program in Galway in the summer of 1997, while still working toward my undergraduate degree in English from Long Island University. While in Ireland, I studied fiction under the late William Harrison (Rollerball) and Irish PEN Award-winner John McGahern (The Dark, Amongst Women). After I earned my bachelor’s degree I landed my first writing job as a production assistant for News12 Long Island–a job I stayed at until 2003.
In 2002 I graduated from Southampton College with an MFA in Creative Writing. During my years there, I studied under distinguished faculty members including the novelist Kaylie Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Jules Feiffer, TIME magazine columnist and Emmy Award-winning essayist Roger Rosenblatt, poet Kit Hathaway and the novelist Gerard Donovan. My one-act play The Gauntlet Hour was performed at the Avrim Theater in Southampton in 2000 under the direction of Michael Disher and Paul Conroy.
My poetry earned me the John Steinbeck Award for Best Graduate Writing and the 46th Annual C.W. Post Poetry Prize. My essay “An Early Rescue,” was awarded a 2014 Dan’s Papers Literary Prize in Nonfiction. My debut novel, LITTLE BEASTS, is due out by Akashic/Kaylie Jones Books in July, 2015.
As a journalist I have worked for a number of media outlets, including News12 Long Island, the Herald Community Newspapers, PRWeek and AOL/Patch Inc. Currently I’m an adjunct English Instructor at Suffolk County Community College and a Senior Account Executive for a public relations firm that handles educational clients.
I consider among my biggest literary influences, James Joyce, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Willa Cather, Tennessee Williams and Colum McCann.