Stephen Goodwin comes from a large family whose roots are Irish Catholic, Russian Jew, Pennsylvania Dutch, and English. He was born in Pennsylvania, raised in Alabama, and went to high school in Rhode Island. He attended Harvard College and served a tour of duty in the army before receiving his M.A. at the University of Virginia, where he studied with Peter Taylor. His first novel, Kin, was published in 1975, followed by The Blood of Pardise in 1979. Goodwin is a co-founder of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and served as its first president, and he was Director of the Literature Program at the National Endowment for the Arts from 1987-1989. His articles and short stories have appeared in a number of magazines, including GQ and The Sewanee Review, and he has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merril Foundation, and the NEA. He now teaches in the Writing Program at George Mason University.