Ethan Canin was born in Michigan, in 1960. Although he did not publish his first book, a collection of short stories titled Emperor of the Air until 1988, he has enjoyed considerable success in a short period of time. The collection of short stories received high praise and encouragement from Danielle Steel, Canin's high school English teacher. All the more impressive is the fact that the book was written and published while Canin was at Harvard Medical School, where he received his M.D. in 1992. Canin asserts that medicine is a more useful profession than fiction writing. Canin's subsequent books include The Palace Thief (1994), a collection of stories that appeared in Esquire, Granta and The Paris Review; the novel Blue River (1991); and For Kings and Planets (1998). In addition to his M.D., Canin earned his undergraduate degree at Stanford in 1982 and his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1984. Canin lives in California and has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Columbia University, The University of Michigan, The University of California at Irvine, and San Francisco State University.