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Cheryl Walsh was born in Flint, Michigan and spent many hours as an adolescent reading in the beautiful main branch of the Flint Public Library. When she wasn't at the library, she was likely to be found singing in a choir or madrigal group, playing flute and piccolo in a school band or orchestra, or practicing piano. Sadly, her passion for music far outran her talent, and a musical career was never a serious consideration, though she has continued to sing in church and community choirs and furtively plays Bach inventions whenever she gains access to a keyboard.


When she enrolled at Michigan State University, she didn't know whether she would major in art history or biochemistry. Both majors had a foreign language requirement, and German was the only choice that fit the bill for either. That is how she ended up studying that language and eventually majoring in German studies, along with an aggregation of art history and European history courses that added up to a B.A. in interdisciplinary humanities. She then entered the doctoral program in history at Cornell University, but it wasn't long before she started thinking things like: "You know, it would be a much better story if this person talked to that person, and that turned into an argument and brought the issue to a head more quickly and foiled the plans of this other person…." She resisted the tug of fabrication just long enough to earn her M.A. in history. A few years later, she took her M.F.A. in creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, and she has been making things up ever since.


To support her creative life, she has worked for a public television station, an art gallery, a textbook publisher, a state humanities council, and several colleges and universities, playing such roles as security attendant, secretary, grants officer, copyeditor, speech writer, database creator, publication designer, and correspondence assistant. She now works for Grinnell College and lives in Iowa City, where she shares a 110-year-old house with her husband, the Australian photographer Bruce Hart.