Lowry Pei grew up in St. Louis, got his B.A. in English at Harvard (1967) and his Ph.D. at Stanford (1975). He was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war. He came to Simmons in 1985 after teaching at the University of Missouri, UC San Diego, and Harvard's Expository Writing Program. Despite having done a dissertation on Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels, he somehow didn't turn into a Victorianist and instead has spent his career teaching writing. At Simmons he was director of Freshman Writing, later called Writing and Thinking, from 1985 to 1996, and then directed MCC, the first-year core/writing course, from 1996 to 1999. More recently, he led faculty workshops and seminars on teaching writing as part of the "Writing Infusion" initiative, whose goal is to have writing-intensive courses offered in all majors. He was chair of the English Department from 2002 to 2007.
Professor Pei regularly teaches creative writing, both fiction and non-fiction, and a graduate seminar on teaching writing.
Professor Pei has published literary criticism, book reviews, short stories, and a novel: Family Resemblances (Random House, 1986). His story "The Cold Room" appeared in Best American Short Stories 1984; his story "Naked Women" appeared in The American Story: The Best of StoryQuarterly (1990). Since coming to Simmons, he has written six more novels, short stories, memoirs, essays on writing and teaching writing, and book reviews. Much of his fiction and non-fiction can be found on http://www.lowrypei.com; nearly all will soon be available there as free full-text downloads.
On his sabbatical in 2007-2008, Professor Pei was at work on a book about how we imagine our relationship with nature, with a particular focus on water. A website about this project, including many photos of local waterways (and some distant ones), and a great deal of exploratory writing, can be found at http://lowrypei.wordpress.com.