Colleen Murphy was born in Quebec/Canada, and after university studied at the Strasberg Institute in New York. Her radio drama Pumpkin Eaters won second prize in the 1990 CBC Literary Competition and the same year her screenplay, Terminal Station, was nominated for a Genie Best Original Screenplay. As a 1995 director resident at the Canadian Film Center she completed her second short, The Feeler, which won a Golden Sheaf Award at the 1996 Yorkton Film and Video Festival and was nominated for a Genie (Best Short) in 1996. She directed the feature, Shoemaker, which won the Audience Choice Award at Toronto in 1996, shared the Ecumenical Jury Prize at Mannheim-Heidelberg in 1997, and was nominated for three Genie Awards in 1998. Playwright-in-Residence at Necessary Angel Theater Company in Toronto, her 1998 play Beating Heart Cadaver was nominated for a 1999 Chalmers Award.