Fenkl is an associate professor of English and Asian Studies at SUNY New Paltz. He previously served as coordinator of the school's Creative Writing Program and was director of the now-defunct ISIS: The Interstitial Studies Institute (also at New Paltz).
Before his appointment to his current position at SUNY, he taught a wide array of creative writing, folklore, and Asian literature courses at Vassar College, Bard College, Eastern Michigan University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Yonsei University (Korea). At New Paltz, Fenkl regularly teaches creative writing in addition to courses on Asian literature & film and folklore.
His fiction includes Memories of My Ghost Brother, an autobiographical, Interstitial novel about growing up in Korea as a bi-racial child in the 1960s. On the strength of this book he was named a Barnes and Noble "Great New Writer" and PEN/Hemingway Award finalist in 1997. His second novel, Shadows Bend (a collaborative work, published under a pseudonym) was an innovative, dark 'road novel' about H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. He has also published short fiction in a variety of journals and magazines, as well as numerous articles on folklore and myth.
He has published translations of Korean fiction and folklore, and is co-editor of Kori: The Beacon Anthology of Korean American Literature. Currently he is at work on a sequel to Memories of My Ghost Brother, and on a volume of Korean myths, legends, and folk tales: Old, Old Days When Tigers Smoked Tobacco Pipes. He also writes regular columns on mythic topics for Realms of Fantasy magazine and the Endicott Studio Journal of Mythic Arts.
After graduating from Vassar College, he studied folklore and shamanism as a Fulbright Scholar in Korea and dream research under a grant from the University of California. Fenkl holds an M.A. in creative writing from the University of California, Davis, where he was also a Ph.D candidate in cultural anthropology.
Fenkl was raised in Korea and (in his later years) Germany and the United States. He lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife, writer and artist Anne B. Dalton, and their daughter Isabella Myong-wol.