Ricci received a B.A. in English literature from York University, Toronto in 1981 and a Master's in Creative Writing from Concordia University, Montreal in 1987. Ricci has travelled in Europe and Africa, where, in Nigeria, he taught English literature and language in a high school for two years.
Ricci's first novel Lives of the Saints was a great critical and commercial success. It won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the 1990 Governor General's Award for Fiction and a Betty Trask Award.
Awards and nominations
- 1990 Governor General's Award for Fiction for Lives of the Saints
- 1990 Books in Canada First Novel Award for Lives of the Saints
- 1997 Giller Prize (shortlist for Where She Has Gone)
- 2002 Trillium Book Award (co-winner for Testament)
- 2006 Alistair MacLeod Award for Literary Achievement
- 2008 Giller Prize (longlist for The Origin of Species)
- 2008 Governor General's Award for Fiction for The Origin of Species
- 2011 Member of the Order of Canada
- Lives of the Saints (1990) (inspiration for a TV miniseries directed by Jerry Ciccoritti)
- In a Glass House (1993)
- Where She Has Gone (1997)
- Testament (2002)
- The Origin of Species (2008)
- Pierre Elliott Trudeau (biography) (2009)
- Roots and Frontiers (essays and memoir) (2003)
- "Appointments to the Order of Canada". June 30, 2011.