Scott Heim was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1966. He grew up in a small farming community there, and later attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence, earning a B.A. in English and Art History in 1989 and an M.A. in English Literature in 1991. He attended the M.F.A. program in Writing at Columbia University, where he wrote his first novel, Mysterious Skin. HarperCollins published that book in 1996, and Scott followed it with another novel, In Awe, in 1997. In 2008, his third novel, We Disappear, was published, this time as a paperback original with HarperPerennial. This novel won the 2009 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men's Fiction.
Heim won fellowships to the London Arts Board as their International Writer-in-Residence, and to the Sundance Screenwriters' Lab for his adaptation of Mysterious Skin. He is also the author of a book of poems, Saved From Drowning (1993).
After living eleven years in New York, he relocated to Boston in 2002. Mysterious Skin was adapted for the stage by playwright Prince Gomolvilas, premiering in San Francisco; it was subsequently adapted to film by director Gregg Araki and Antidote Films.
Heim's fiction, nonfiction and reviews have appeared in The Village Voice, Out, The Advocate, Interview, Time Out New York, Nerve, Christopher Street, The Minnesota Review, and many other periodicals.