Joyce Hinnefeld was born in southern Indiana, the youngest of four children. Her father was a high school science teacher, her mother a secretary and homemaker. She graduated from Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana and received graduate degrees from Northwestern University and the State University of New York at Albany. She has lived and worked in Chicago, New York City, and upstate New York, and she is an Emerita Professor of English at Moravian University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She now works as a Program Facilitator with Shining Light, an organization that provides reentry-based programming for incarcerated people throughout the U.S.
She has published fiction, poetry, and essays in a number of print and online journals, and her book of short stories, Tell Me Everything (University Press of New England, 1998)—called “a beautiful and wise collection, with no wasted words” by judge Joanna Scott—received the 1997 Bread Loaf Writers Conference Bakeless Prize in Fiction. Her first novel, In Hovering Flight—called “as quiet as twilight and just as lovely” by Ron Charles of The Washington Post—was the #1 Indie Next Pick for September 2008. Her novel Stranger Here Below—described by Patricia Henley as having “the feel of an heirloom, [with its] treasured stories of friendship, misunderstanding, forgiveness, and mystery”—was published in 2010. Her short story collection The Beauty of Their Youth, selected for the Wolfson Press American Storytellers series and published in 2020, includes stories described as “revelatory in a headlong, finish-in-one night beauty” by Susan Straight.