Andrea Barrett was born in 1954 and grew up on Cape Cod. She studied at Union College in Schenectady, New York, where she received a BA in biology and briefly attended a PhD in zoology. She began writing seriously in her thirties and first found significant success with Ship Fever (1996) a collection of short stories that won the National Book Award. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2001. Her 2002 collection of short stories, Servants of the Map, was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Her other novels include Lucid Stars (1988), The Voyage of the Narwhale (1999), The Forms of Water (1988), Secret Harmonies (1989) and The Middle Kingdom (1991). Barrett currently teaches at Williams College and in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program.