Schneider was educated at Central College in Missouri, and earned her MA from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California .In 1979 she became a graduate of the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she is the Founder/Director of Amherst Writers & Artists and editor of Amherst Writers & Artists Press, which has published twenty books of poetry and the national literary journal, Peregrine. Pat is an adjunct faculty member of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She has taught creative writing workshops at the University of Massachusetts, Smith College, Limavadi College (Northern Ireland) and the University of Connecticut. She teaches annually in Ireland, and bi-annually at the Graduate Theological Union in California, where she has also been Playwright in Residence at the Pacific School of ReligionShe also leads annual workshops in Ireland, workshop leadership training seminars and several writing retreats. In 1993 Pat was keynote speaker and workshop leader at a women's retreat in Japan.
She has published three books of poetry: Olive Street Transfer, White River Junction and Long Way Home. Her autobiographical book, Wake Up Laughing: A Spiritual Autobiography, was released in 1997 by Negative Capability Press. In addition, she has published two books on writing, The Writer as an Artist and Writing Alone and With Others, published in 2003 by Oxford University Press.
Pat Schneider has published widely in literary journals and magazines, including Sewanee Review, Minnesota review, Ms. Magazine, and Negative Capability.
She has also edited a collection of the writings of women in low-income housing projects, In Our Own Voices.
Fourteen of her plays have been produced, nine published. There are more than 300 recorded productions of her plays in this country and in Europe. Pat is an alumnus of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. She has been the recipient of literary prizes, and grants from the Danforth Foundation, the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Awards, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Schneider has four children, including author Paul Schneider.