Wallace was born in Kingston, Ontario. She attended Queen's University, Kingston (B.A. 1967, M.A. 1969). In 1970, she moved to Windsor, Ontario, where she founded a women's bookstore and became active in working class and women's activist groups. In 1977, she returned to Kingston, where she worked at a women's shelter and taught at St. Lawrence College and Queen's. She wrote a weekly column for the Kingston Whig-Standard. In 1988, she was writer-in-residence at the University of Western Ontario.
In a series of letters published in 1994 as Two Women Talking: Correspondence 1985-1987, Wallace and poet Erin Mouré discuss feminist theory. Mouré defends the language philosophers (particularly Wittgenstein) who demonstrate that our speech, and the concepts expressible in language, governs our knowledge and actions. However, Wallace disagreed that language-centred writing rescues women from the patriarchy, claiming that it can be easily co-opted by patriarchs. Society's use of politically correct language, she notes in the book, bears this out. Wallace believed that by engaging her readers in the issues of violence, she could provoke change in the reader and hence in society.
Wallace died of cancer in 1989. Her first and only published collection of short stories, People You'd Trust Your Life To, was published posthumously in 1990.
The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, funded by friends of the poet and the Writers' Trust of Canada, is an annual prize given to a young and promising poet or fiction writer who is under the age of 35 and unpublished in book form.
- Marrying into the Family - 1980
- Signs of the former Tenant - 1983 (winner of the Pat Lowther Award)
- Common Magic - 1985
- The Stubborn Particulars of Grace - 1987
- Keep That Candle Burning Bright and Other Poems - 1991
- People You'd Trust Your Life To - 1990
- Humans and Other Animals
- Arguments with the World - 1992
- Two Women Talking: Correspondence 1985-1987 - 1994 (with Erin Mouré)