Born in 1953, Ann Ireland was raised in Toronto, Canada. After travels in Mexico and Europe, she attended the University of British Columbia, where she received a B.F.A. in Creative Writing in 1976.

A short story writer for many years, she entered her first novel in the $50,000 Seal First Award contest, and won. A Certain Mr. Takahashi, was published by McClelland and Stewart in Canada in 1985 and rapidly became a Canadian bestseller. The novel was also published by Bantam Books in the U.K., Vanguard Publishing and Bantam Books in the U.S., Masada Publishing in Israel (translated into Hebrew), Seal Books, Canada, and later was turned into a feature film titled The Pianist, directed by Claude Gagnon. The novel was also short listed for the Books In Canada/W.H. Smith first novel award.

Ireland’s second novel, The Instructor, published in 1996 by Doubleday Canada, was shortlisted for the Ontario Trillium award and published by Ecco Press in the U.S. 

Exile, her third novel, was published by Dundurn Press in 2002. Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary award for fiction, the Rogers/Writers’ Trust award for fiction, and the Torgi award for books on tape, Exile was judged to be one of the year’s best books by Quill and Quire magazine and The Globe and Mail. A short excerpt from the novel has been incorporated into a public park sculpture near the Lakeshore in Toronto.

Her fourth novel, The Blue Guitar was published by Dundurn Press in February, 2013. An excerpt has been published in the on-line magazine Numéro Cinq.

Ireland teaches creative writing courses on-line and coordinates the Writing Workshops department at the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University. She has acted as Writer in Residence at the North York Public Library, the Windsor Public Library, Trent University and the Metro Reference Library in Toronto. She is a Contributing Editor at Numéro Cinq magazine.

A past president of PEN Canada, Ireland has also served on the National Council of the Writers' Union of Canada and the Authors' Committee of the Writers' Trust of Canada.