Lionel Shriver was born Margaret Ann Shriver on May 18, 1957 in Gastonia, North Carolina. At age 15, she changed her name from Margaret Ann to Lionel because she didn't like the name she had been given, and as a tomboy felt that a conventionally male name fitted her better.
She won the 2005 Orange Prize for her eighth published novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin, a thriller and close study of maternal ambivalence, and the role it might have played in the title character's decision to murder nine people at his high school. The book created a lot of controversy, and achieved success through word of mouth. Her experience as a journalist is wide having written for The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, The New York Times, The Economist and many other publications.
She currently lives in London.