Jesse Lee Kercheval was born in France, raised in Florida, and has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1987. She is the author of fourteen books of poetry, fiction and memoir including the bilingual Spanish/English poetry collection Extranjera/Stranger; the novel My Life as a Silent Movie; the poetry collection Cinema Muto, winner of a Crab Orchard Open Selection Award; The Alice Stories, winner of the Prairie Schooner Fiction Book Prize; the poetry collection Dog Angel; the memoir Space, winner of the Alex Award from the American Library Association; and the short story collection The Dogeater, winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award for Short Fiction. She is also a translator, specializing in Uruguayan poetry. Her translations include The Invisible Bridge/El puente invisible: Selected Poems of Circe Maia and the poetry collection The Fable of an Inconsolable Man by Javier Etchevarren. She is also the editor of América invertida: An Anthology of Emerging Uruguayan poets. She has received National Endowment Fellowships in both fiction and translation as well as a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Her poems, stories and translations appear regularly in magazines and anthologies in the U.S. and other countries.
She is currently the Zona Gale Professor of English and the Marjorie and Lorin Tiefenthaler Professor of English in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as the director of the Program in Creative Writing, She was director of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing from 1994-2010 and the founding director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing. She currently divides her time between Madison, Wisconsin and Montevideo, Uruguay.