John Casey was born in 1939 in Worcester, Massachusetts. He received a B.A. from Harvard College in 1962, a LLB from Harvard Law School in 1965, and M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1968. He is a professor of English literature at the University of Virginia. He is also a novelist and translator. His novel Spartina, a classic tale of a man, a boat, and a storm, won the National Book Award in 1989. His other works include The Half-Life of Happiness, An American Romance, and Compass Rose.