Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan was born in Santa Monica and raised in Los Angeles. She received her B.A. in English from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, earned an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow, and completed her M.A. in literature at the University of California at Berkeley. At the University of Houston she was a Cambor Fellow and earned a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing. She is a full-time instructor at Houston Community College, Central Campus. She lives in Houston with her husband, Raj, a scientist specializing in HIV/AIDS research at Baylor College of Medicine, and their three cats. She continues to grow her hair and donate 8 inch locks to create wigs for cancer patients.