She was born in Chicago, Illinois and has lived there most of her life. While attending college at the University of Chicago, Eisenstein met her future husband Alex Eisenstein at a weekly gathering of Chicago's science fiction fandom. In 1966, shortly after attending Tricon, they were married.
She was a regular attendee at Thursday.
Eisenstein had her first two science fiction stories published in 1971, the first in collaboration with husband Alex (he continues to be her writing partner for certain stories). After establishing herself as a professional writer, she returned to college and finished her education, earning a 1981 B.A. degree in anthropology from the University of Illinois.
She has published six novels and more than forty shorter works of varying lengths in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror fiction; Eisenstein also wrote a popular non-fiction book on the treatment of arthritis. Her stories have appeared in both anthologies and in every major science fiction and fantasy magazine; these include The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Analog, Galaxy Science Fiction, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, and others.
Eisenstein has spent much of her adult life teaching writing; this began by assisting author Roger Zelazny at the Indiana University Writers Conference in 1977. She has taught writing at Clarion at Michigan State University, Oakton Community College of Skokie, Illinois, and the Writer's Digest School. For twenty years she was a member of the part-time faculty of Columbia College Chicago, teaching courses in general science fiction, popular fiction writing, fantasy, and advanced science fiction writing. In 1999 Eisenstein received an "Excellence in Teaching" Award from this institution; in 2009 she retired from CCC to devote more time to her professional writing career.
Other Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1979 — The Coveted Balrog Award for Best Novel: Born To Exile
- 1981 — Icon (Iowa) 6, Science Fiction Chronicle Best Novella: "In the Western Tradition"
- 1982 — ConFusion 11, Con*Stellation I: The Pleiades
- 1986 — Honored Guest at Minicon 21
- 1993 — Congenial V
- 2000 — Toastmaster at WindyCon XXVII
- 2003 — WindyCon XXX: 30th Anniversary GoH
- 2006 — Capricon 26
- 2007 — ConQuesT 38