Debra Dean was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She majored in English and Drama at Whitman College in Walla Walla after which she moved to New York City. After a first career on the New York stage, she returned to the Pacific Northwest to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Oregon. The Madonnas of Leningrad, her bestselling debut novel, began as a short story and was researched and written off and on over the course of ten summers in Seattle. It went on to be a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a Borders Original Voice, a #1 Booksense Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Novel and an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year. It has been published in seventeen languages. Her subsequent collection of short stories, Confessions of a Falling Woman (2008), won the Paterson Fiction Prize and a Florida Book Award. A second novel,The Mirrored World, is due out in summer 2012. She and her husband, poet Clifford Paul Fetters, now live in Miami, where she teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University.