Kercheval was born in Fontainbleu, France, but raised in Cocoa, Florida. She earned her Master’s degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1986. She is currently the the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the Sally Mead Hands Bascom Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin. Her memoir, Space, won the Alex Award from the American Library Association. Other books include The Dogeater, The Alice Stories, Brazil and Cinema Muto (poetry). She lives in Madison with her husband and two children.