An American author and environmental activist, he is best known for his 1999 novel, Where the Sea Used to Be. He was a 2006 finalist for the Story Prize and a 2008 finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award.
He started writing short stories on his lunch breaks while working as a petroleum geologist in Jackson, Mississippi.
He published his acclaimed memoir, Why I Came West, in 2008.
The son of a Texas-based geologist, he married artist Elizabeth Hughes Bass.
He and James Hart are both natives of Fort Worth, Texas.