I am the author of four novels.
I was born in Altadena, California just a mile from where I live now. I college-hopped (Scripps, Grinnell, EWU) and landed at the Iowa Writer¹s Workshop where I received my MFA.
My first two books, Round Rock (Knopf 1997) and Jamesland (Knopf 2003), were both New York Times notable books and also finalists for the LA Times Book Award. My third novel, Blame, (Sarah Crichton Books, FSG, 2009), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and also a finalist for the LA Times Book Award. My fourth novel, Off Course, (Sarah Crichton Books, FSG, 2014), is coming out April 1, 2014.
Along the way, I’ve received a GE Younger Writers Award and a Whiting Award for Fiction. For many years my “day job” was reviewing restaurants and writing about food for the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly and other publications. I’ve received a James Beard award (for “feature writing with recipes”) and an assortment of other awards for food journalism.
I’m presently teaching creative writing to undergraduates at UCLA and writing the occasional bit about food. I live with my husband Jim Potter, dog (Piper), cat (Mr. Pancks), and talkative African Grey parrot (Helen) in Altadena.