Ruvanee Pietersz Vilhauer has worked as a science writer for NASA, a biology researcher and a therapist in various settings, including a jail and two university counseling centers. For many years, her day job has been as a psychology professor. She has a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Chicago and was formerly a Clinical Associate Professor at New York University. As a licensed psychologist, she has a private psychotherapy practice in New York and New Jersey.

She grew up in Sri Lanka and lived in India, Thailand, Canada and Australia before settling in the United States. Her short fiction has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and her essays and short stories have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Summerset Review, Quiddity, Michigan Quarterly Review, Stand, The American Literary Review, The Examined Life, and many other venues. She won the Commonwealth Short Story Competition in 2004 and the Iowa Short Fiction Award in 2018. She lives in New Jersey with her family.