He went to college at Tulane University, from which he graduated in 1985.
Bailey is widely known for his literary biographies of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson. He is the editor of the Library of America omnibus editions of Cheever"s stories and novels. Together they have a daughter.\r\nBailey is a tennis enthusiast.
Bailey and his family lost their house and most of their possessions in Hurricane Katrina, an experience he wrote about in a series of articles for Slate. He is currently the Mina Hohenberg Darden Professor of Creative Writing at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.\r\nAfter college, Bailey wrote occasional free-lance pieces and taught gifted eighth-graders at a magnet school in New Orleans. After publishing a long critical profile of Richard Yates, Bailey contracted to write a full-length biography of the novelist, A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates (2003).
Bailey also edited a two-volume edition of Cheever"s work for the Library of America.\r\nIn an interview with the New York Times published on November 17, 2012, Philip Roth said that Bailey was his official biographer and at work on that project Recently Bailey published his biography of the novelist Charles Jackson, Farther & Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson, as well as a memoir, The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait. 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship for Cheever: A 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Cheever: A 2009 James Tait Black Memorial Prize finalist for Cheever: A 2012 Judge for Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists association/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award foreign
( A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist 'Autobiog...)
(The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait by Bail...)