Born in England, Deb Matthews-Zott grew up in a middle-class suburban family with two sisters. She came to South Australia with her family, arriving at the Pennington Migrant Hostel in 1969. She lived for five years in Elizabeth before moving to Christies Beach in 1975. Since then she has lived mostly in the southern suburbs near the beach. Matthews-Zott was educated at Christies Beach High School but left at the age of 15. She has worked as a clerk, receptionist, book-keeper, boutique salesperson, dental assistant, cleaner, freelance editor, website designer and librarian. She has had three children.
Matthews-Zott commenced a BA at Flinders University in 1990, and completed a BA (Hons) in English and Creative Writing in 1998. Her creative Honours thesis combines a collection of poems titled 'Want' and an exegesis titled 'The Grip of the Animus : a Jungian Psychoanalytic Approach to Women's Poetry'. After completing her Honours degree she gained a Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Management (University of SA) in 1999. Since then Matthews-Zott has embarked on a PhD in English and worked as a librarian.
Matthews-Zott was a member of Friendly Street Poets and the SA Writers' Centre 1989-1999, and was treasurer of Friendly Street Poets 1997-1999. In 1995 she formed the poets' workshop group 'A Passion of Poets' with Kate Deller, Stephen Lawrence, John Hunt, Dawn Colsey, Barbara Bell, Diana Siguenza, Maureen Vale and Margaret Reichardt, but left the group in October 1999. Matthews-Zott has also been a committee member of the Children's Book Council (SA).
Matthews-Zott's inspiration is drawn from the sea, suburban images, personal relationships and dreams. Her sister is a double lung transplant recipient and she has expressed interest in the publication of a collection of personal stories by transplant recipients and their families. Her unpublished poem 'Sheoak Guide' was Highly Commended in the 1998 Max Harris Literary Awards and Commended in the C. J. Dennis Literary Awards 1998. Her poem 'Hephaestus - God of Fire' was Commended in the 1998 Sand Writers Literary Awards.