Fay Zwicky was born and grew up in Melbourne where she began writing as a student at the University of Melbourne. Apart from performing as a concert pianist she worked primarily as a Senior Lecturer in American and comparative literature at the University of Western Australia until her retirement after which she concentrated on her writing which won her international recognition. In 2004 Fay Zwicky was declared a Western Australian “Living Treasure”, which she considered to be “a most repulsive term”.
The relation between art and the artist, themes of conflict and the exploration of her Jewish heritage are recurrent themes of Zwicky's poetry and prose. Her style has been described as "densely textured but elegant and direct". Her most recent collection of poems is Picnic, published in 2006.