Martha Baillie was born in Toronto, and educated in a French-English bilingual school.  She studied history and modern languages (French and Russian) at the University of Edinburgh.
She completed her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Toronto. While at university, she became involved in theatre.
In 1981, she took an extended trip through parts of Asia including Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Burma, Nepal and India. This experience inspired her to switch her focus from acting to writing.
Today, she works part-time for the Toronto Public Library.
Cannoing and hiking are two of her principal passions.
Baillie’s first novel, My Sister Esther, was published in 1995, followed by Madame Balashovskaya’s Apartment in 1999. The latter was translated into Hungarian and German. In 2006, her third novel, The Shape I Gave You received excellent reviews nationwide.

Her 2009 novel, The Incident Report was nominated for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize. Her latest novel, The Search For Heinrich Schlögel came out in September 2014 with Pedlar Press in Canada and Tin House in the US. It will soon be released in French by Leméac Éditeur, in Quebec.  A digital companion to The Search For Heinrich Schlögel  can be explored at the Schlögel Archive.  Film rights to The Incident Report have been sold to Naomi jay, writer and director of the Yiddish feature film, The Pin.

Baillie has been awarded grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. She lives in Toronto with her daughter and husband.

Photo by Vid Ingelevics