Erin Flanagan is the author of two short story collections—The Usual Mistakes and It’s Not Going to Kill You and Other Stories—both published by The University of Nebraska Press. Her stories have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Colorado Review, The Missouri Review, The Connecticut Review, and elsewhere. She had held fellowships to Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, UCross, and The Vermont Studio Center.
Erin was born in Illinois and lived in a far-flung suburb of Chicago until she was four. One day her father came and said he was sick of the commute and working as an executive and not seeing his girls grow up. He told his wife he had a family farm in Northwest Iowa and he thought it would be a good idea for them to give it a try. His wife, appropriately, flipped out. She eventually agreed and he went to community college to learn how to farm, and she drove a school bus to make ends meet, and they both learned how to live in a small town where everyone knew everyone’s business. This ended up being the best decision of their lives. Erin loved growing up on a farm—she was in boys’ and girls’ 4-H, spent a good amount of time outdoors until she really discovered reading, and was convinced she would grow up to be a veterinarian with a menagerie of pets after raising a pet pig named Mama for slaughter. In this life, her mother taught her to castrate pigs and her father taught her to bake a pie.
Erin attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for her undergraduate degree, and earned such poor grades she was eternally grateful they took her back for grad school. Her grade point continued to improve, from a 2.65 as an undergraduate to a 3.84 (CHECK) for her M.A. Going into her last semester of coursework for her Ph.D., she still had a 4.00, but then UNL changed their policies to account numerically for plusses and minuses. She got an A- in her final course and had to have a conversation with herself about which was worse: not having a 4.0 or being the graduate student who complains to the professor about an A- she most likely deserved. She graduated her Ph.D. with a 3.96.
In 2005 she joined the faculty at Wright State University where there is very little drama in the English department and she likes all her colleagues except one. She lives in Dayton, Ohio with her daughter (who is super funny and a fantastic dancer) and their two cats, Belle and Mickey. Her daughter thinks these cats are named after Disney characters, but they’re actually in reference to a Richard Bausch story about an alcoholic and a serial killer. They also have a springer spaniel puppy named Mavis. If you meet Erin’s daughter, she will warn you that Mavis is a biter, but Erin is insistent this is just a phase.