Lynne Sharon Schwartz was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 19, 1939. She married Harry Schwartz (a city planner) on December 22, 1957; they would have two children, Rachel Eve and Miranda Ruth. She attended Barnard College, earning a B.A. in 1959, and Bryn Mawr College, where she earned the M.A. in 1961, followed by further graduate study at New York University, 1967-1972. She left the program without completing her dissertation, deciding instead to devote her time to her writing. She worked from 1961 to 1963 as an associate editor for Writer Magazine and as a writer for a civil rights-fair housing organization, Operation Open City (1965-1967). From 1970-1975 she lectured at Hunter College of the City University of New York and taught fiction workshops at the University of Iowa (1982-1983), Columbia University (1983-1985), Boston University (1984-1985), Rice University (1987), University of California at Irvine (1991), and University of Hawaii at Manoa (1994).
Schwartz’s stories, poems, articles, translations, and reviews have appeared in literary journals and popular magazines, including The North American Review, Salmagundi, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson Review, The Ontario Review, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, Ploughshares, Redbook, and The Chicago Review.