Melanie Sumner was born in Middletown, Ohio on December 30, 1963, but grew up in Rome, Georgia. She received a BA in religious studies from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1986 and an MFA in creative writing from Boston University in 1987. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, West Africa from 1988-1990. She taught at numerous colleges and universities including Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina (1990-1993), University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (1995-1996), University of New Mexico (1998-2001) and Shorter College (2002-2008). She currently teaches English at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Her books include The Ghost of Milagro Creek, The School of Beauty and Charm, and Polite Society, which won the Whiting Writers' Award in 1995. Her fiction and nonfiction works have appeared in numerous journals, anthologies and magazines including The New Yorker, New Stories from the South, Atlanta Magazine, Five Points, Harper's, and Ladies Home Journal.