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Amy Dickinson is a syndicated advice columnist, penning the "Ask Amy" column, which appears in over 100 newspapers. She is a panelist on NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! Her commentaries and radio stories also have been featured on All Things Considered.
She grew up on a small dairy farm in the Finger Lakes district of New York. Her father wanted his three daughters to be farmers but gave up on them when they refused to compete in the local Dairy Princess pageant. Her large family has lived in and around her hometown (pop. 450) continuously since the Revolutionary War. She has described them as "hilarious, short-waisted Methodists."
"My extended family is a collection of married and divorced parents, single mothers, step-relatives, adoptees, devoted siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles, and grandparents. I grew up hearing stories about my ancestors' exploits. My great grandfather was warden of Sing Sing Prison and my great uncle ran off to Europe and joined the circus when he was 40. Life in my hometown was like growing up in Lake Wobegon, only with worse weather and high unemployment," she says.
Dickinson attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a receptionist for The New Yorker, a producer for NBC News, a lounge singer, and a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire, Allure, O magazine and other publications. From 1999-2002, she wrote a column for Time Magazine focusing on family life and parenting.
In the early days of the Internet, she wrote a weekly column for America Online's News Channel, which often drew on her experiences as a single parent and member of a large, extended family. She has been a Sunday school teacher for 10 years and is a substitute teacher at a local nursery school.