He was educated at Zomba Catholic Secondary School, then at the University of Malawi where he earned a B.A. At the University of Wales, he took a teaching diploma in English as a Second Language. At Columbia University in the United States, he was awarded his M.A. and Ph.D. in teaching. After studying at Leeds, England, Chimombo returned to Malawi to edit the literary bulletin Outlook-lookout.
He was a professor of English at Chancellor College in Malawi and was considered one of the nation's leading writers. In 1988 his Napolo Poems gained him honorable mention for the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. He was married to Moira Chimombo.
The poet Stanley Onjezani Kenani wrote the following appreciation of Chimombo: "Except for J.W. Gwengwe, D.D. Phiri, Jack Mapanje, and Francis Chipasula, I cannot think of any Malawian who has contributed more to Malawian literature than Prof. Chimombo." He died at the age of 70 on 11 December 2015 in Blantyre. The only Malawian writter as well as poet who did not went in to exile during the Kamuzu's rule, even there are some rumours that he was one of those who were giving the government the names of those who wrote against it.
- Napolo Poems, Manchichi Publishers, 1987
- Python! Python! An Epic Poem, Wasi Publications, 1992
- Napolo and the Python, Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1994, ISBN 978-0-435-91199-7
- The Rainmaker (1975)
- Wachiona Ndani? (1983)
- The Basket Girl, Popular Publications, 1990
- The Wrath of Napolo, Wasi Publications, 2000, ISBN 978-99908-48-06-9
- The Hyena Wears Darkness (2006)
- The Culture of Democracy: Language, Literature, the Arts and Politics in Malawi, 1992–94 (1996)
- Chinua Achebe, Catherine Lynette Innes, eds. (1992). "The rubbish dump". The Heinemann book of contemporary African short stories. Heinemann. ISBN 978-0-435-90566-8.
- Gerald Moore, Ulli Beier, eds. (2007). "Napolo: the message". The Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry. Translators Gerald Moore, Ulli Beier. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-042472-0.
- "Steve Chimombo lives on in Zomba - The Nation Online". The Nation Online. 2016-04-25. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
- Chalamanda, Fiona Johnson, "Steve Chimombo", The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 8 January 2001.
- Gikandi, Simon (2003). Encyclopedia of African literature. Taylor & Francis. pp. 145–146. ISBN 0-415-23019-5.
- De Capua, Sarah (2009). Malawi in Pictures. Visual Geography. Second Series. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 70. ISBN 0-8225-8575-8.
- Killam, G. D. (2004). Literature of Africa. Literature as windows to world cultures. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 182. ISBN 0-313-31901-4.
- Gérard, Albert S. (1986). European-language Writing in sub-Saharan Africa. Histoire comparée des littératures de langues européennes. 6. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 970. ISBN 963-05-3834-2.
- Lee, Christopher J. (Fall 2010). "Malawian Literature after Banda and in the Age of AIDS: A Conversation with Steve Chimombo". Research in African Literatures. 41 (3): 33–48. doi:10.2979/ral.2010.41.3.33. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- "Noma Award for Publishing in Africa". Noma Award. Archived from the original on 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- "Author Steve Chimombo dies aged 70, tributes pour in". Nyasa Times. December 11, 2015. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.