Lee Smith is a novelist, short story writer, and educator. She was born in 1944 in Grundy, Virginia. Smith attended Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia. In her senior year at Hollins, Smith entered a Book-of-the-Month Club contest, submitting a draft of a novel called The Last Day the Dog Bushes Bloomed. The book, one of 12 entries to receive a fellowship, was published in 1968. Smith wrote reviews for local papers and continued to write short stories. Smith received O. Henry Awards in 1978 and 1980 and in 1981, her first collection of short stories, Cakewalk, was published. Smith taught at North Carolina State University. Her novel, Oral History, published in 1983, was a Book-of-the-Month Club featured selection. Smith has received the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Award, the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction, the North Carolina Award for Fiction, and the Academy Award in Literature presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.