Nancy Mairs grew up north of Boston. In 1964, she received the A.B. cum laudefrom Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts), which made her a Doctor of Humane Letters thirty years later. She did editorial work at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard Law School before moving to Tucson, Arizona, where she earned the M.F.A. in creative writing (poetry) in 1975 and the Ph.D. in English literature (with a minor in English education) in 1984 from the University of Arizona. She has taught writing and literature at Salpointe Catholic High School, the University of Arizona, and the University of California at Los Angeles.
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