Born in Cleburne, Texas, she studied English and creative writing at Indiana University and Texas Tech University and was a Fulbright scholar to Germany, after which she spent twenty years traveling and working in Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, and Canada.
She has received numerous awards for her fiction and poetry, including twice being the recipient of an O. Henry Award for her short stories. Leaton's work has been compared to other writers whose focus has been primarily upon social mores and human foibles—specifically such novelists and short story writers as Jane Austen, Henry James, and John Cheever.
- Good Friends, Just. Chatto & Windus. 1983. ISBN 978-0-7011-2711-4.
- Pearl. Knopf. 1985. ISBN 978-0-394-53923-2.
- Blackbird, Bye, Bye. Virago. 1989. ISBN 978-1-85381-012-1.
- Anne Leaton, Colin Fish (1976). Circus baby: a play for radio. Prix Italia.
- A Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Ed. by Virginia Blain, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy. Yale University Press, 1990.
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