Lorrie Moore grew up in a small town, Glens Falls, in upstate New York. In 1978, when she was nineteen, she won Seventeen magazine’s fiction contest. After college she earned a master of fine arts degree from Cornell and then lived and worked for a time in Manhattan. Since 1984 she has taught creative writing at the University of Wisconsin, where she is a professor of English and a much-sought-after mentor to young writers.
Moore’s debut story collection, Self-Help, appeared in 1985 and instantly revealed her as the rarest thing—an original. One of the most anthologized stories, “How to Become a Writer,” was the last story completed for her thesis at Cornell. The story begins mock instructionally, “First try to be something, anything else.”