Rosie Scott was educated in New Zealand, where she completed an MA (Hons) in English at Victoria University and a Diploma in Drama at Auckland. She travelled and worked in England, Europe and the Pacific, working for newspapers, in social work, publishing, stand-up comedy and numerous casual jobs. She worked as a freelance book reviewer for the Sydney Morning Herald, as well as script editor on a number of feature films.
Scott co-founded 'Women for Wik', was elected Chair of the Executive of the Australian Society of Authors in 1998 and also served two terms on the Queensland Literary Board. She was elected to the PEN Sydney Committee in 1999, becoming Vice President from 2002 to 2005. Scott received an Australian Arts Council award for a two-month pilot fellowship to Ledig House, New York in 2003 and also a three-year University of Western Australian scholarship to complete a Doctorate of Creative Arts (2002-2006) for which she wrote the memoir Family Love. She also founded and chaired the Writers in Detention Committee in 2004 with Tom Keneally (q.v.).