An American novelist, poet, and non-fiction author, she is best known for her U.S. National Book Award-winning novel, The Oysters of Locmariaquer (1964). Her other works include The Bitter Box and Camping Out.
She was born in Los Angeles, California. While a student at Vassar College, she wrote for the campus literary publication, Con Spirito.
Her non-fiction works include Eyes, Etc. and Rome and a Villa.
She married Robert Penn Warren in 1952. The couple and their children, Gabriel and Rosanna, settled in Connecticut.
She and Neil Algren both won the National Book Award.