Lorrie Moore was born Marie Lorena Moore on January 13, 1957 in Glen Falls, New York. She was nicknamed Lorrie by her parents. She attended St. Lawrence University and won Seventeen magazine's fiction contest. After graduation, she moved to Manhattan and worked as a paralegal for two years. In 1980 she enrolled in Cornell University's M.F.A. program. After graduation from Cornell she was encouraged by a teacher to contact an agent who sold her collection, Self-Help, which was composed of stories from her master's thesis. Lorrie Moore writes about failing relationships and terminal illness. She is the Delmore Schwartz Professor in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches creative writing. She has also taught at Cornell University. She has written a children's book entitled The Forgotten Helper. She won the 1998 O. Henry Award for her short story People Like That They Are the Only People Here. In 1999 she was given the Irish Times International Fiction Prize for Birds of America. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006 and in 2010 her novel A Gate at the stairs was a finalist for the Pen/Faulkner Award for fiction.