Dean was born and brought up in Seattle, and studied English and Drama at Whitman College, graduating in 1980. She then trained as an actress in New York City, where she married another actor, and worked mostly in theatre until returning to her home area to study for a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Oregon. She now teaches creative writing at Florida International University, where she is an associate professor of English.
- The Madonnas of Leningrad (New York: William Morrow, 2006, ISBN 9780060825300, OCLC 780026459)
- Confessions of a Falling Woman (New York: HarperCollins, 2008, ISBN 9780060825324, OCLC 924436770)
- The Mirrored World (New York: Harper Perennial, 2013, ISBN 9780061231469, OCLC 813286531)
- Hidden Tapestry: Jan Yoors, His Two Wives, and the War That Made Them One (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2018, ISBN 9780810136830, OCLC 1004512034)
- Birth year from Worldcat, accessed 2018-05-28.
- "Debra Dean". Marly Rusoff Literary Agency. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
- Liane Hansen (April 2, 2006). "The Force of Memory: 'Madonnas of Leningrad'". NPR Books. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
- "Debra Dean — News at FIU - Florida International University". news.fiu.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
- "Debra Lynn Dean". Faculty directory. Florida International University. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
- Seymenliyska, Elena (2006-07-01). "Review: The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
- "The Force of Memory: 'Madonnas of Leningrad'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
- "'The Mirrored World': the clash of faith and reason in 1700s St. Petersburg". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
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