Kathryn Shevelow grew up in southwestern Ohio, and subsequently moved to the West Coast, where she earned her doctorate from the University of California, San Diego. After a year teaching at the University of Maine, she returned to UC San Diego, where she joined the Literature Department as a faculty member specializing in eighteenth-century British literature and culture. In 1999, she won the Earl Warren College Outstanding Teaching Award, and in 2005 she received UCSD's Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award. Kathryn Shevelow's first book, Women and Print Culture (Routledge, 1990), examines the invention of the women’s magazine and other periodicals for women in the early 1700s. Her second book, Charlotte: Being a True Account of an Actress’s Flamboyant Adventures in Eighteenth-Century London’s Wild and Wicked Theatrical World (Henry Holt, 2005), is a biography of the scandalous actress and cross-dresser, Charlotte Charke. In 2006, Charlotte won the Theatre Library Association's George Freedley Memorial Award for the year's best book on live theater. Kathryn Shevelow’s third book, For the Love of Animals, will be published on June 24, 2008. In this book, she combines her life-long concern for animal welfare with her expertise in eighteenth and nineteenth-century English culture to tell the story of how society's changing attitudes towards animals enabled some extraordinary people, working over many years, to pass the world's first animal welfare law and to found the SPCA, the world's first animal protection society.

Kathryn Shevelow lives with her husband, Edward Lee, and their three cats, Chloe, Graham and Maxine, in Solana Beach, California.