Lauren Sunstein was born and raised in Philadelphia. She received a B.A. in Social Relations from Harvard in 1974. After a time in Mexico, she returned to New York University where she earned an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language. She moved to Rome as a photographer and English teacher in 1989. She has been teaching English Composition at John Cabot since 2000. She also works as a translator, principally of texts related to art and culture.