Peggy Kern was born and raised in Westbury, New York. There she attended the local public elementary and middle schools, where she was one of the few white students in a predominately black and Latino community. Peggy didn’t realize what a unique and valuable experience that was until she transferred to a private high school.
"I was miserable in high school," she says. "I couldn’t understand why my classmates only hung out with people who looked just like they did. To me, that was a foreign concept." Peggy worked a variety of jobs through her teenage years, including switchboard operator at a country club, cashier at a clothing store, and the night-shift in a bakery.
In 1992, Peggy enrolled at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, where she discovered her love of literature and writing. However, the financial stress of paying for college herself, coupled with the painful divorce of her parents, proved overwhelming. She moved back to New York and took a full-time job as a secretary. Determined to finish her degree, she began taking night classes at a local community college and eventually landed a partial scholarship at Long Island University. She continued working full-time and taking classes until she graduated in 1998 with a B.A. in English.
Though it took her almost seven years to obtain her college degree, Peggy says she would do it all again. "The adversity made me work even harder. I never forgot how lucky I was to have a chance at an education."
In 2001, Peggy completed a Master’s degree in English and Writing at Southampton College. She also coordinated the Southampton Writers Conference, where she had the chance to meet some of her literary heroes and assist young students in pursing their dream of writing. While at Southampton, she taught English Composition, tutored undergraduate students and published several short stories.