Manning was born in St. John, New Brunswick and attended Kings College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the 1920s he moved to the United States. In the USA, he lived primarily on Staten Island, where he began writing short stories for several pulp science fiction magazines. After teaming with SF writer Fletcher Pratt in "City of the Living Dead" in the May, 1930 issue of Science Wonder Stories, he wrote "The Voyage of the 'Asteroid'", which appeared in the Summer 1932 issue of Wonder Stories Quarterly, and The Man Who Awoke, a series of stories that was later published as a novel. He also translated at least one German-language story for Hugo Gernsback's magazines.
He was a founding member of the American Rocket Society, serving as both president and editor. For his involvement in the Society, Manning is recognized by the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum as an early rocketry pioneer. Manning retired from the American Rocket Society in the mid-1940s, stating that rocketry had 'grown up', and was no longer a place for amateurs. In 1961, Manning was awarded a lifetime membership in the Society, that award being presented by then Vice President of the US Lyndon B. Johnson. Manning gave up his successful writing career at the end of 1935 and devoted his time to a mail order nursery business he owned and managed. Apart from several short stories in the 1950s (Good-Bye, Ilha!, Mr. Mottle Goes Pouf, Men on Mars), he never wrote any more science fiction. However, he was the author of a successful book on gardening, The How and Why of Better Gardening (1951). Manning had three children: Helen Louise, Dorothy, and James Edward. His daughter Dorothy was very dear to him, and she has mentioned that Lawrence was not only a skilled writer, but a pianist as well. He composed his own pieces though never published any. He also smoked pipe. He lived in Highlands, New Jersey from 1951 until his death in 1972.
Laurence Manning was baptized around the time of his birth. After that, he did not stick around long and went to Saint John (City/Cité) Queen's (Ward/Quartier), Saint John (City/Cité), New Brunswick, Canada at the age of 2.Later, when he was 12, he moved to Saint John City and County, New Brunswick. Eventually, he moved to Staten Island, Richmond, New York, USA and his writing career started. After 7 years in the US he married Edith Mary Finette Burrows. He wrote many books then for 6 years when his rocket career ended. He wrote one more book,The How and Why of Better Gardening, and then moved to Highlands, Monmouth, New Jersey, USA. 10 years later the vice president presented him the American Rocket Society Award. In another 10 years he died on the 10th of April, 1972.