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Photo © Paul McGeiver

The daughter of an electrical engineer and architect-turned-artist, Francesca was born in Transylvania during the height of Ceau┼čescu’s communist regime. Food was difficult to find. She once stood with her mother in line for hours, waiting for their ration of six eggs. Non-government sanctioned writing was even harder to buy, yet as a child, Francesca fell in love with books—especially her grandfather’s Russian fairytales.

After the family excaped Romania, they settled in Toronto. At age eight, Francesca wrote her first story in a red spiral notepad, using a black-ink pen. Her mother kept that draft tucked in a chest beneath her bed. A few years later the family moved again, from Canada to Lake Forest, the town immortalized by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was here, appropriately, that Francesca first read The Great Gatsby. Here that she formed lasting friendships with authors like Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Austen, and Margaret Atwood. Others soon followed: Jonathan Franzen, Peter Heller, Sue Monk Kidd, Raymond Carver. 

Francesca studied journalism and fiction writing at Boston University. She spent one year in Paris, working in a photography studio on rue Daguerre, and eating everything in sight. In 2000 she graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Journalism and moved to New York. In 2008 she edited her sister’s memoir, Kid Rex, which was published by ECW Press. In 2011 Francesca completed a fiction-writing course in Brittany, France, led by Pulitzer-Prize winning author Robert Olen Butler and British novelist Michele Roberts.