She was born in Zurich, Switzerland and lived "most of her life" in the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, she lives in Bloomington, Indiana.
She received her B.A. from Ohio State University, an M.A. in English Literature from San Francisco State University, 1978; an M.A. in Film from San Francisco State University in 1987; an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 1995; and a J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law in 2003. She teaches in the English department at Indiana University. She is also an attorney who works for animal rights. She believes that animals are not "just property," as the law defines them, but deserving of a different status that acknowledges their sentience, intelligence, emotionality, and capacity for happiness. In a recent interview, she stated that "writers have an obligation to know and pay attention to the world they live in."
She has published well over 150 stories, poems, and essays in literary journals and magazines. Her most recent story collection Water (Sarabande Books), won the Mary McCarthy Prize. She is also author of the novel Stopping for Green Lights.
About Water critics wrote, "...Miller’s superb latest collection...pulls together nine deftly wrought stories that chart the ebb and flow of several remarkably diverse lives...These psychologically acute stories are truly satisfying...imaginative, open-ended, and haunting" (O, The Oprah Magazine). ". . . Miller’s prose is vivid and multifaceted yet possesses an admirable restraint that enhances the emotional honesty----and risk..." (Booklist). Her other short story collection, The Nature of Longing,won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. A novel, Stopping for Green Lights, expanded one of the stories in The Nature of Longing and explored in more depth the complications of interracial friendships and racial categories during a tumultuous time. She also writes and publishes nonfiction (essays) screenplays and poetry. Among her other awards are the Kenyon Review Award for Excellence in Literary Fiction, and the Lawrence Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review.