I was born in Berkeley, CA and spent the second half of my childhood in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. Two of the greatest gifts our parents gave my sister, brother, and me while we were growing up were our educations (as much at home as in school) and the opportunity to travel.
From 1970-1990, our family spent alternate summers in the former Yugoslavia—mostly staying with my paternal grandmother at her farm in western Serbia, but also splitting time between the capital, Belgrade, and our favorite spot on the Dalmatian coast, just down the road from Dubrovnik. Though we were fortunate not to be directly affected by the Yugoslav wars, it’s nevertheless the case that those conflicts changed my family’s life in ways large and small.
After high school in DC, I got my BA at McGill University, spent a year back home waiting tables and working in politics, and then moved to the UK for a two-year graduate program in English Studies at Oxford. In 1994, I returned to the US to pursue a MA in Modern Studies under philosopher Richard Rorty, as well as a PhD in English Language and Literature, at the University of Virginia. My dissertation explored the relationship between notions of civility and national identity in English fiction. (Though it’s not obvious from the immediate subject matter, my interest in nationalism—so central to the breakup of Yugoslavia—was one of the roots of this project.) As a graduate instructor and postdoctoral fellow at UVA, I taught classes in academic writing, modern and contemporary literature, and the development of the novel in English. From 2004-2010, I was on the faculty of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, where I taught a variety of interdisciplinary liberal arts courses, from Critical Thinking to Anglo-American Women’s Movements.
I’m currently on an indefinite hiatus from teaching, watching lots of tennis, occasionally covering the sport, and gathering the resources—as much emotional as practical—to write a book about both my tennis adventures and my family’s experience with war in Yugoslavia.