Epifanio San Juan, Jr. was born on December 29, 1938 in Sta. Cruz, Manila. He studied at Bonifacio Elementary School, Jose Abad Santos High, and graduated with an AB English, magna cum laude , from the University of the Philippines in 1958. He obtained his MA in 1962, and his Ph.D. in English in 1965 from Harvard University, on a Rockefeller Fellowship. He was also appointed Harvard University fellow and tutor in English from 1961 to 1963. In May of 1964 he received the Spanish Siglo de Oro prize in Comparative Literature for his critique of Gongora’s poetry. More recent awards include those from the Association for Asian American Studies, the Gustavus Myers Center for Human Rights, the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures in the United States and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, in particular the Centennial Award for Achievement in Literature in 1999. He has also received recognition as Fulbright lecturer and professor and as Fellow of the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan University, the Institute for the Advanced Study of the Humanities at University of Edinburgh, and the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society in Ohio. He now directs the Philippines Cultural Studies Center in Connecticut, USA.

His works were first published in The Collegian New Review (1954). His award-winning poems were collected in Godkissing Carrion/ Selected Poems: 1954-1964 (1964), The Exorcism and Other Poems (1967), and The Ashes of Pedro Abad Santos and Other Poems (1985). Nowadays, however, he is known mostly for his criticism, which have been gathered into several books that include After Postcolonialism: Remapping Philippines-US Confrontations , an international publication which won the 2001 Myers Distinguished Book Award.