Susan Straight has published six novels, a novel for young readers and a children's book. She has also written essays and articles for numerous national publications, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Nation and Harper's Magazine, and is a frequent contributor to NPR and Salon.com. Her story "Mines," first published in Zoetrope All Story, was included in Best American Short Stories 2003. She won a Lannan Literary Award in 2007. She won a 2008 Edgar Allan Poe Award for her short story "The Golden Gopher." She is a Professor at the University of California, Riverside and lives in Riverside, California with two of her three daughters, her oldest now attending Oberlin College.
As a student at Riverside Community College, Straight received encouragement to pursue her writing. She went on to earn a scholarship to the University of Southern California and, in 1984, earned her M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst's MFA Program for Poets & Writers. She co-founded the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts program at University of California, Riverside, where she is currently teaching.