Ivy Goodman grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, earned a B.A. in English at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. at Stanford University where she was a Mirrielees Fellow in the writing program. She was a Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in 1979-80 and has worked as a bibliographer, bookkeeper, teacher, copyreader, and, with the help of a 1981 National Endowment of the Arts grant, as a full-time writer. She and her husband recently moved from Palo Alto, California, to the Washington D.C. area.