Ana Castillo was born and grew up in Chicago of Aztec and Mexican ancestry. She was educated at Northern Illinois University and the University of Chicago, thereafter earning a Ph.D. at the University of Bremen. In both high school and college, Castillo was active in the Chicano movement and began writing political poems about ethnic experience. Known for both her novels and her poetry, she has often explored the politics of sexuality. She has worked as associate editor for Third Woman Magazine and Humanizarte and has taught at San Francisco State University, the University of New Mexico, and Mount Holyoke College. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.