Ms. McDermott received her B.A. in 1975 from the State University of New York at Oswego, and her M.A. in 1978 from the University of New Hampshire. She has taught at the University of California at San Diego and American University, has been a writer-in-residence at Lynchburg and Hollins Colleges in Virginia, and was lecturer in English at the University of New Hampshire. Her short stories have appeared in Ms., Redbook, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen.The recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, Ms. McDermott is currently writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She lives outside Washington, with her husband, a neuroscientist, and three children.