Susan Fromberg Schaeffer was born in Brooklyn, New York. She attended South Side High School on Long Island and graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor's degree in 1961; she went on to earn a master's in 1963 and her Ph.D. 1966. The following year, she joined the faculty of Brooklyn College, where she met Neil Schaeffer, a fellow English professor and scholarly author. They married in 1970 and had two children. She made her debut as a novelist with the semiautobiographical Falling, published in 1973. During her career as a writer, she published 14 novels, including The Madness of a Seduced Woman (1983); a collection of short stories; six volumes of poetry; and two children’s books. She also contributed often to the New York Times Book Review and published a number of articles on writing in scholarly journals. She also wrote an unpublished memoir, Memories Like Splintered Glass: Growing Up in New York. In 2002, she returned to the University of Chicago to teach English and creative writing.