Shannon Ravenel was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating from Hollins College, she moved to New York City to begin a publishing career that would lead to a thirteen-year run as editor of the Best American Short Stories series and to founding, with Louis Rubin, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Under her own imprint at Algonquin, Ravenel nurtured and advanced the work of writers from the American South. She lives with her husband, Dale Purves, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.