Monette was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and graduated from Phillips Academy in 1963 and Yale University in 1967. Conflicted about his sexual orientation, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he taught writing and literature at Milton Academy. In 1978 he moved to West Hollywood with his romantic partner, lawyer Roger Horwitz. Monette's most acclaimed book, Borrowed Time, chronicles Horwitz' fight against and eventual death from AIDS. His 1992 memoir, Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story, tells of his life in the closet before coming out, culminating with his meeting Horwitz in 1974. Becoming a Man won the 1992 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Monette also wrote the novelizations of the films Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), Scarface (1983), Predator (1987) and Midnight Run (1988), as well as the novels "Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll" (1978), "Afterlife" (1990), and "Halfway Home" (1991).
Monette's final years, before his own AIDS-related death, are chronicled in the film Paul Monette: On the Brink of Summer's End by Monte Bramer and Lesli Klainberg. "By the end of his life, Monette had healed most of his psychic wounds, but his rage persisted." Monette died in Los Angeles, California, where he lived with his partner of five years, Winston Wilde. Monette was survived by his partner, Winston Wilde; his father, Paul Monette Sr., and his brother, Robert Monette, who remains the appointed Trustee of the Monette Horwitz Trust.
- Monette, Paul (1975). The Carpenter at the Asylum (Poetry). Boston: Little, Brown. ASIN B000WFI36Q.
- Monette, Paul (1978). Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-57821-5.
- Monette, Paul, The Gold Diggers, Los Angeles, New York, Alyson Classics Library, 1979, ISBN 1-55583-458-2
- Monette, Paul (1981). The Long Shot. New York: Avon Books. ISBN 0-380-76828-3.
- Lightfall, Avon Books, 1982, ISBN 0-380-81075-1 (horror novel) (cover by Wayne Barlowe)
- Monette, Paul (1988). Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-113598-3.
- Monette, Paul (1989). Love Alone: Eighteen Elegies for Rog (Poetry). New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-01472-4.
- Monette, Paul (1990). Afterlife. New York: Crown Publishers. ISBN 0-517-57339-3.
- Monette, Paul (1991). Halfway Home. New York: Crown Publishers. ISBN 0-517-58329-1.
- Monette, Paul (1992). Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-111519-2.
- Monette, Paul (1994). Last Watch of the Night (a collection of essays). San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-600202-7.
- Monette, Paul (1995). West of Yesterday, East of Summer: New and Selected Poems, 1973-93. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-13616-1.
- Monette, Paul (1997). Sanctuary, A Tale of Life in the Woods. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0-684-83286-0.
- Wilde, Winston Legacies of Love, The Haworth Press, ISBN , p174
- Martinez, Gerard (2005-10-11). "Becoming a Man looks at difficulties of gay lifestyle". The Daily Texan. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- "National Book Awards – 1992". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
(With acceptance speech by Monette.)
- Monte Bramer; Lesli Klainberg (1996). "Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer's End". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- Holden, Stephen (1998-02-06). "Paul Monette: More Active and Angry on the Way to the End". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- "One Person’s Truth: The Life and Work of Paul Monette". UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library. 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
- Esther B. Fein (February 12, 1995). "Paul Monette, 49, Who Wrote of AIDS, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- "About the Monette-Horwitz Trust". The Paul Monette - Roger Horwitz Trust. 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- Paul Monette papers, 1945-1995 (26 linear feet) are housed at the Charles E. Young Research Library at the University of California at Los Angeles.
- Monette Horwitz Trust
- 1990 and 1991 audio interviews of Paul Monette at Wired for Books.org with Don Swaim
- Visions of L.A. in the Age of AIDS: Paul Monette (kcet.org)