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Jill McCorkle was the 2002 Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. First a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received the Jesse Rehder Prize, a prestigious writing award, and her BA with highest honors in Creative Writing, then she graduated from the Hollins College Masters Program in Writing in 1981. 

She is a professor in the MFA in Creative Writing at NC State. She has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Tufts University and Brandeis, where she was the Frannie Hurst Visiting Writer. She was a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Creative Writing at Harvard for five years where she also served as chair of the creative writing program. She is one of the original core faculty members of the Bennington College MFA program and is a frequent instructor at the Sewanee Summer Writers Program.

McCorkle is also a frequent reviewer for The New York Times Book Review and has also reviewed for The Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, New York Woman, and many North Carolina newspapers. She is also a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

She is known for her five novels, "The Cheer Leader", "July 7th", "Tending to Virginia", "Ferris Beach", and "Carolina Moon", as well as her collections of short stories, "Crash Diet", "Creatures of Habit", "Going Away Shoes", and "Final Vinyl Days". Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter and Truman Capote are among the list of authors she says inspired her to write.

Jill McCorkle's fiction has been selected numerous times by The New York Times Book Review for its Notable Books of the Year list. In 1993, she had received the New England Booksellers' Association for her body of work in fiction. In 1996, she was included in Granta Magazine's celebration of Best of Young American Novelists.

Originally from Lumberton, North Carolina, McCorkle now lives with her husband in Hillsborough, North Carolina.