Born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina in 1947 to a teacher and businessman, Gurganus first trained as a painter, studying at the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His paintings and drawings are represented in private and public collections. Gurganus has illustrated three limited editions of his fiction. During a three-year stint onboard the USS Yorktown during the Vietnam War, he turned to writing. Gurganus subsequently graduated from Sarah Lawrence College where he’d gone to work with Grace Paley. At the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his mentors were Stanley Elkin and John Cheever. Mr. Gurganus has taught writing and literature at Stanford, Duke, Sarah Lawrence, the Michener Center at the University of Texas-Austin, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His students have included the novelists Ann Patchett, Elizabeth McCracken, Chris Offut, James Hines, Ayana Mathis, Justin Torres, Kate Christensen and Donald Antrim, among many others. Gurganus is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.