Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Bradford Morrow grew up in Denver, Colorado, and has lived or worked in a variety of places. As a teenager, he traveled through rural Honduras as a member of the Amigos de las Americas program, serving as a medical volunteer in the summer of 1967. The following year he was awarded an American Field Service scholarship to finish his last year of high school as a foreign exchange student at a Liceo Scientifico in Cuneo, Italy. In 1973, he took time off from studying at the University of Colorado to live in Paris for a year. After doing graduate work at Yale University, he moved to Santa Barbara, California where he worked as a bookseller until relocating to New York City in 1981, where he founded the literary journal Conjunctions and began writing novels.
Morrow joined the faculty at Bard College in 1990, where he is a professor of literature and Bard Center Fellow. That same year, Bard began publishing Conjunctions, which Morrow continues to edit. He has taught creative writing at Brown, Columbia, and Princeton Universities, as well as the Naropa Institute. He was the Chairman of the PEN American Center Forums Committee from 1996–2000, and he served on the board of trustees of the PEN American Center from 1998–2002. He has also served as the literary executor of the Kenneth Rexroth Estate since Rexroth’s death in 1982.
His writing and editorial work have garnered Morrow numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction, O. Henry and Pushcart prizes for his short stories, an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the PEN/Nora Magid Award and CLMP's Lord Nose Award for excellence in editing a literary journal. His novel Trinity Fields was a Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, and The Almanac Branch was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. The New York Times named The Forger's Daughter a "Ten Best Crime Novels of 2020" selection. His tenth novel, The Forger's Requiem, is in progress. He divides his time between New York City and upstate New York.