Born in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas and raised in Laredo, Texas,  Norma Cantú received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&I at Laredo and Kingsville and her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She served and taught as Chair and Interim Dean at Laredo State University, later renamed Texas A&M International University, was a senior arts administrator with the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC, and was Acting Chair of the Chicano Studies Research Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Dr. Cantú has published articles on a number or academic subjects including border literature, the teaching of English, quinceañera celebration and the matachines, a religious dance tradition have earned her an international reputation as a scholar and folklorist in addition to poetry and fiction. She has co-edited four books and edited a collection of testimonios by Chicana scientists, mathematicians and engineers. Her award winning Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera chronicles her childhood experiences on the border. She has published poetry in a number of venues including Prairie Schooner, Feminist Studies, and the Latina/Chicana Studies Journal. Her novel Cabañuelas, A Love Story was published in Spring 2019.