John Bennet grew up in a small town in East Texas—his mother ran the local Trailways/Greyhound bus station, which was their house—and took a B.A. in English from the University of North Texas.
He subsequently moved to New York, studied creative writing at Columbia’s School of the Arts, and became the founding editor of Backpacker magazine.
In 1975, he joined the staff of The New Yorker as a copy editor. In 1980, he became a senior editor. He retired in 2016.
He currently teaches profile writing and magazine writing at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
The writers he has worked with most closely over the years include Pauline Kael, Elizabeth Drew, William Finnegan, Ben McGrath, James B. Stewart, Seymour M. Hersh, Oliver Sacks, John McPhee, Michael Specter, Jeffrey Toobin, Lauren Collins, Sasha Frere-Jones, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Eric Schlosser.