Tony Ardizzone was born and raised on the North Side of Chicago. He attended grammar school at Saint Gregory the Great parish, where he served as an altar boy and harbored hopes of someday becoming a priest, and then went to Saint George High School, where the Christian Brothers dispelled all notions that he was worthy. In 1971 he graduated with a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which withheld formal issue of his degree for two years due to his participation in a peaceful, nonviolent anti-war campus protest (labeled by the press as the "Champaign 39"). In 1975 he received a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University, where he worked with the writers Philip F. O'Connor, Robert Early, and John Clellon Holmes. Ardizzone also completed a year of graduate study in English (1972-73) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, working with Michael Anania, John Frederick Nims, Eugene Wildman, and Ralph J. Mills.
Ardizzone is the author of eight books of fiction, with his fourth novel, The Whale Chaser, published in Fall 2010. He is the editor of four anthologies, most recently The Habit of Art: Best Stories from the Indiana University Fiction Workshop. He also wrote the foreword to the paperback edition of Raymond DeCapite's classic novel The Coming of Fabrizze, which was re-released in 2010 by Kent State University Press.
Ardizzone has recently completed work on a collection of interconnected stories set in Rome, The Calling of Saint Matthew, currently under consideration. A paperback edition of his first book of stories, The Evening News, was published in March 2013 by the University of Georgia Press. He currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where he is Chancellor's Professor of English at Indiana University.
- The Whale Chaser (novel). Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 2010.
- The Habit of Art: Best Stories from the Indiana University Fiction Workshop (anthology). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.
- In the Garden of Papa Santuzzu (novel). New York: Picador USA/St. Martin's Press, 1999; trade paperback edition 2000.
- Taking It Home: Stories from the Neighborhood. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996. Finalist for the 1996 Paterson Fiction Prize.
- Larabi's Ox: Stories of Morocco. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 1992. Awarded the 1992 Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the 1992 Chicago Foundation for Literature Award for Fiction sponsored by the Friends of Literature, and a Pushcart Prize.
- The Evening News: Stories. Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 1986; paperback edition 2013. Awarded the 1986 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction.
- Heart of the Order (novel). New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1986. Awarded the 1986 Virginia Prize for Fiction, and named one of the 10 Best Sports Books 1986 by The National Sports Review.
- Intro 12 (anthology of fiction and poetry). Norfolk: Associated Writing Programs, 1981.
- Intro 11 (anthology of fiction and poetry). Norfolk: Associated Writing Programs, 1980.
- Intro 10 (anthology of fiction and poetry). New York: Hendel & Reinke, 1979.
- In the Name of the Father (novel). Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1978.