Jeri Kroll has Jewish/Russian heritage. Her mother, who had been a singer and dancer before her marriage, used to write poems for family occasions. Kroll began writing at an early age and was encouraged in this by her older sister Judith, who herself became a writer.
Kroll was awarded a BA(cum laude) degree from Smith College, Mass. (1967), an MA from the University of Warwick, UK (1968) and a PhD from Columbia University, New York (1974). She taught literature and writing at a number of tertiary institutions in the United States and the UK. She was one of the founding collective editors of Sojourner, a New York City magazine of women's writing.
Kroll was a freelance writer and community arts worker 1981-1993. She has been a literary producer for radio 5UV, particularly Writers' Radio and Authors' Proof, as well as conducting interviews with writers. She has given numerous talks and workshops on writing, and has held a number of positions as writer-in-residence and writer-in-the-community. In Australia she has taught at the Croydon Park and Salisbury Colleges of Advanced Education, the University of Adelaide, and at Flinders University, where she has been a Professor of English and Programme Co-ordinator of Creative Writing, as well as the Dean of Graduate Research.
Her early overseas honours and awards include the Ethel Olin Corbin Poetry Prize 1966, Elizabeth Babcock Poetry Prize 1967, and Phi Beta Kappa 1967 from Smith College. In Australia, as well as a number of awards and commendations for individual works, she has been awarded three Literature Board Grants, several grants from the SA Department for the Arts and a Literature Board Fellowship 1991-2.
Much of Jeri's writing is about interactions between people, including the relationships between parent and child. Initially writing poetry and short stories for adults, she has also since 1994 published a number of books for children and young adults. Her school readers, What Goes With Toes and Beaches were published in both English and Spanish by Houghton Mifflin (Boston) in their Invitations to Literacy series. Her Mother Workshops (2004) is a mixed genre work of poetry and prose. She has published articles on Samuel Beckett, on contemporary poetry, the pedagogy of creative writing and on children's literature.
She was awarded a Varuna Writers' Fellowship in 2000, and in 2005, a one month residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Writers' Centre in Ireland.