Born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, Lipman graduated from Simmons College where she studied journalism. She lives in western Massachusetts and Manhattan, and received the New England Book award for fiction in 2001. Her novel Then She Found Me was adapted into a 2007 feature film, directed by and starring Helen Hunt. Her novels The Ladies' Man and The Pursuit of Alice Thrift are in pre-production as feature films. Her essays have appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and Salon.com.