Gerry Turcotte was born in Montreal and grew up speaking both French and English, an experience that is frequently explored in his early poetry. A British Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Award for doctoral work brought him to the University of Sydney where he completed a PhD thesis on Australian and English-Canadian gothic fiction in 1991. During his studies he published a number of poems in Australian magazines and many of these were collected in Neigbourhood of Memory: Poems, 1985-89. He was appointed lecturer at the University of Wollongong where he remained until taking up the position of Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, in 2007. In addition to his academic work, Turcotte has published several more collections of poetry, including Border Crossings: Words and Images (2004) that combines poetry and prose with photographs taken during the previous two decades. Turcotte's interest in the issue of linguistic differences is further explored in Flying in Silence (2001), his first novel.
In 2011 Dr Gerry Turcotte was selected as the President of St Mary's University College, Calgary, Canada.