Elizabeth Cox, poet, short story writer, essayist, and novelist, was born in 1942 in Chattanooga into a family of teachers and writers. She attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, the University of Chattanooga (now the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), and the University of Mississippi, where she completed her B.A. degree in 1964; she received her M.F.A. in writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1979. Cox has published numerous short stories and poems in a variety of periodicals and anthologies including Antaeus, Anthology of North Carolina Poets, Carolina Quarterly, Crucible, Fiction International, Graywolf Annual: Short Stories, Green River Review, Greensboro Review, Hyperion, St. Andrews Review, and Southern Poetry Review. One of her short stories, “Old Court,” was adapted for broadcast on National Public Radio (1989). She has also published two novels: Familiar Ground (1984) and The Ragged Way People Fall Out of Love (1991). Cox has won several prizes for her short stories, including a citation for excellence in The Best American Short Stories and a Pushcart Prize, both in 1980, for her short story “Land of Goshen.” In addition, she has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo (1982) and the MacDowell Colony (1983). She divides her time between Boston and Durham, North Carolina; she teaches (alternate semesters) at Bennington College and Duke University. Cox's writing, whether in the form of essay, short story, or novel, is marked by its strong emphasis on the surroundings and by the influence that place exerts on memory and finally on character.