Christopher Tilghman was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1946, the son of an executive for the publishing house Houghton Mifflin. He attended Fesenden School and St. Paul’s Academy and received his B.A. from Yale University in 1968; during the summers while he was in college he worked in Montana. After graduation, Tilghman joined the U.S. Navy. Three years later he moved to New England, took on freelance corporate writing, and built a house in rural northern Vermont, all the while writing fiction. His first public recognition came with his collection of stories In a Father’s Place, which was featured on the cover of The New York Times Book Review in May, 1990.