Chris Tusa was born and raised in New Orleans. He holds a B.A. in English, an M.A in English, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. Aside from teaching in the English Department at LSU, he also acts as Managing Editor for Poetry Southeast. With the help of a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, he was able to complete his first chapbook of poetry, Inventing an End. His debut collection of poems, Haunted Bones, was published by Louisiana Literature Press in 2006. His work has appeared in Connecticut Review, Texas Review, Prairie Schooner, The New Delta Review, South Dakota Review, Southeast Review, Passages North, Spoon River, New York Quarterly, Louisiana Literature, Tar River, StorySouth, and others. He has studied under a number of notable writers, including Tim Gautreaux, Sidney Wade, and Debora Gregor. His debut novel, Dirty Little Angels, was released by The University of West Alabama in March of 2009.
In Tusa’s work, the traditional backwoods Southern Gothicism of Faulkner and O’Connor intersects with a more modernized, more contemporary depiction of the South. In his fiction, Tusa often investigates mental illness as well as the ways in which the contemporary, celebrity-driven American culture has managed to infiltrate and alter the poverty-stricken South. The result is a landscape populated with dilapidated apartment complexes, drive-through churches, and strip malls—a place where people finance cheap cosmetic surgeries with high-interest, cash-advance loans, and where teenagers idolize rappers and movie stars.