John L'Heureux was born in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He spent seventeen years as a Jesuit priest, after which he worked as an editor at the Atlantic; and for more than thirty years taught American literature and creative writing at Stanford, where he was the longtime director of the writing program. His stories appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and Harper's. He was the author of twenty-three books, including the novels The Beggar's Pawn, The Medici Boy, and The Shrine at Altamira; and the short-story collections Desires and Comedians. He lived with his wife in northern California until his death in 2019.