His work has been translated into seventeen languages. He has published his stories in such venues as The New Yorker, The Georgia Review, McSweeney’s, Zoetrope, Tin House, The Oxford American, The Best American Short Stories, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and New Stories from the South. He has received the Borders Original Voices Award, three O. Henry Awards (one, a first prize), the PEN USA Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an NEA Grant. In 2007, he was named one of Granta magazine’s Best Young American Novelists. He teaches frequently at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
A graduate of Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School and Missouri State University, he attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop program at the University of Iowa, studying under such names as Frank Conroy and Marilynn Robinson, and graduated in 1997 with an MFA degree. He is probably the only author to have participated in every single Arkansas Literary Festival.