Angela was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and grew up in Greensboro. Her father, mother, and brother were all writers as well, and the atmosphere created by visiting writers, editors, painters was an influence, as was the house in which they lived, an eighteenth century cabin that her historian father believed had been the headquarters of the British Colonel Cornwallis during the penultimate battle of the Revolutionary War.
She attended Duke University (BA in English, Phi Beta Kappa), and earned an MFA at the University of NC at Greensboro, where she studied with Peter Taylor, Robert Watson, and Randall Jarrell.
Her first teaching job, at Tsuda College in Tokyo, Japan, changed the course of her writing. Her two most recent novels, Butterfly’s Child and Plum Wine, had their inception in her life-long interest in Japanese culture and Japanese-American relations. (The chief concern of her fiction, however, lies in the complexities of family relationships, whether the novels and stories are set in the U.S., French-speaking Nova Scotia -- where her grandmother was raised-- or Japan.)
She worked as a journalist and editor after returning from Japan, then returned to teaching, at Guilford College, the University of N.C. at Greensboro, and North Carolina State University. She spent most of her teaching career at North Carolina State University, where she won many awards for teaching undergraduates and graduate students in the MFA program.
Angela began writing her first novel (Felice, Random House 1982) in her thirties. It was published a year before her son was born (Heath, 1983). For the next twenty years, her life was a rich turmoil of mothering, teaching, and writing novels.
During that time, she won a number of awards and grants for to support her writing, including two Fellowships from the Japan Foundation, two grants from the North Carolina Arts Council, and several residences at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She was William Blackburn Visiting Fiction Writer at Duke in 2007. Her son gave her a “Sense of Humor Award, “ which hangs above her desk.
Now retired from her university position, Angela teaches private classes and continues to publish fiction and personal essays. A recent story, “Writing It Down,” was featured as Story of the Week in a recent issue of Narrative Magazine.