Cliff also has written short stories, prose poems and works of literary criticism. Her works explore the various, complex identity problems that stem from post-colonialism, as well as the difficulty of establishing an authentic, individual identity despite race and gender constructs. Cliff is a lesbian who grew up in Jamaica.
Cliff was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1946 and moved with her family to New York City three years later. She was educated at Wagner College and the Warburg Institute at the University of London. She has held academic positions at several colleges including Trinity College and Emory University.
- 1998: The Store of a Million Items (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company). Short stories
- 1993: Free Enterprise: A Novel of Mary Ellen Pleasant (New York: Dutton). Novel
- 1990: Bodies of Water (New York: Dutton). Short stories
- 1987: No Telephone to Heaven (New York: Dutton). Novel (sequel to Abeng)
- 1985: Abeng (New York: Penguin). Novel
- 1985: The Land of Look Behind and Claiming (Firebrand Books).
- 1980: Claiming an Identity They Taught Me to Despise (Persephone Press).
- 1982: Lillian Smith, The Winner Names the Age: A Collection of Writings (New York: Norton).
- 1982: "If I Could Write This in Fire I Would Write This in Fire", in Barbara Smith, ed., Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press).
- 1994: "History as Fiction, Fiction as History", Ploughshares, Fall 1994; 20(2-3): 196-202.
- 1990: "Object into Subject: Some Thoughts on the Work of Black Women's Artists," in Gloria Anzaldúa, ed., Making Face, Making Soul/Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color (San Francisco: Aunt Lute), pp. 271–290.
- Cartelli, Thomas (1995), "After the Tempest: Shakespeare, Postcoloniality, and Michelle Cliff's New, New World Miranda," Contemporary Literature 36(1): 82-102.
- Edmondson, Belinda (1993), "Race, Writing, and the Politics of (Re)Writing History: An Analysis of the Novels of Michelle Cliff," Callaloo 16(1): 180-191.
- Lima, Maria Helena (1993), "Revolutionary Developments: Michelle Cliff's No Telephone to Heaven and Merle Collins's Angel," Ariel 24(1): 35-56.
- Lionnet, Francoise (1992), "Of Mangoes and Maroons: Language, History, and the Multicultural Subject of Michelle Cliff's Abeng," in Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson (eds), De/Colonizing the Subject: The Politics of Gender in Women's Autobiography, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 321–345.
- Machado Sáez, Elena (2015), "Writing the Reader: Literacy and Contradictory Pedagogies in Julia Alvarez, Michelle Cliff, and Marlon James", Market Aesthetics: The Purchase of the Past in Caribbean Diasporic Fiction, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, ISBN 978-0-8139-3705-2.
- Raiskin, Judith (1994), "Inverts and Hybrids: Lesbian Rewritings of Sexual and Racial Identities," in Laura Doan, ed. The Lesbian Postmodern, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 156–172.
- Raiskin, Judith (1993), "The Art of History: An Interview with Michelle Cliff," Kenyon Review 15(1): 57-71.
- Schwartz, Meryl F. (1993), "An Interview with Michelle Cliff," Contemporary Literature 34(4): 595-619.
- Agatucci, Cora (1999). "Michelle Cliff (1946- )". In Nelson, Emmanuel S. Contemporary African American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 95. ISBN 0-313-30501-3. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- Lisa Diedrich, "Michelle Cliff", Postcolonial Studies @ Emory University.
- "Adrienne Rich, 1929-", a time line, credited as "Page by Chelsea Hoffman, Fall 1999", at the Drew University Women's Studies Program website.