Addison was born in Philadelphia, PA, on September 8, 1952. She is the eldest of nine children born to Janet Marie Webster (née Warrick) and J. Decarsta Webster. From an early age, Addison was inspired by the power of storytelling. Janet, a homemaker who never graduated from high school, nightly entertained her children with self-authored stories and tales, inserting her children as characters in her fantastical fables. The stories always ended on a note of mystery and intrigue, inspiring young Linda to further explore the mysterious and magical, light and dark, eventually she began to journal her feelings, stories and experiences laying the groundwork for her eventual career as a writer.
Addison attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1970 to 1975, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.
She moved to New York City in 1975 with fiancé Ken Addison, and started working in the Foreign Royalty Accounting Department at RCA Records. The couple married Ken Addison in 1975 and their son Brian was born in 1982.
In 1996, Addison's short story "Little Red in the Hood" was published in Tomorrow Speculative Fiction and was listed as an Honorable Mention in the annual Year's Best Fantasy and Horror anthology (1997).
During her time at Carnegie Mellon, Addison became a fan of science-fiction author Isaac Asimov and began regularly submitting short stories for publication to Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. At the New York Is Book Country, she met influential science fiction author and editor Frederik Pohl. As their discussion turned to publication, Pohl advised that in order to get published in science fiction "everyone has to write a how the dinosaurs died story." Addison took the advice and from a short story drafted a poem entitled "Why the Dinosaurs Died"; it was published in Asimov's Science Fiction in 1997. She went on to be published four times in Asimov's magazine between 1997 and 1999.
In 1997, she published her first science fiction, fantasy and horror collection of short stories, journal entries and poetry entitled Animated Objects, which features an introduction by science fiction and fantasy writer Barry N. Malzberg.
African-American editor Sheree Thomas put the call out for African-American speculative fiction writers to submit for a collection that became the groundbreaking anthology: Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction From the African Diaspora. Addison's work was featured along with that of Octavia E. Butler, Samuel Delaney, Tananarive Due and Walter Mosley. Addison went on to be included in Dark Dreams and Dark Thirst.
Inspired by transformation, a forced reevaluation of her core belief system following the breakdown of her marriage, like a phoenix Addison created the Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes. Addison was the first African American to win this prestigious award. The first book signing for this collection was held on September 11, 2001, at the Barnes & Noble at Rockefeller Center. The first poem in the collection is entitled "Fire/Fight," although the collection came from Addison's personal journals and reflections previous to the events of 9/11, critics and fans of the book could not help but connect certain themes to current events, like loss, devastation in conjunction with rebirth, rebuilding and the resilience of the human spirit.
In 2007, her third book of poetry and second Bram Stoker Award-winning collection was released: Being Full of Light, Insubstantial. This emotional tour de force was inspired by events beyond Addison's control. Her beloved mother Janet was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and Addison felt strangely pulled to her office on January 1, 2007. She describes the experience "as something she had never felt before, it was as if a voice came to her in meditation and gently whispered... 100 poems." The collection that poured from her was an amalgamation of reprints and new poetry. Addison completed her "100th poem" on March 14, 2007.
Addison is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and annually attends the Northeastern Writers’ Conference (Camp Necon) and has participated in panels with Harlan Ellison, Jack Ketchum and L. A. Banks.
Addison was "Poet Guest of Honor" at The World Horror Convention in 2005.
Her writing has been featured in Essence Magazine, and she is currently poetry editor for Space and Time Magazine.
Addison has participated in Ellen Datlow's Fantastic Fiction Reading Series at KGB Bar in New York City.
In March 2012, Addison won her third Bram Stoker Award for How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend, a collection of reprints, new poems and short stories.
In 2013, she won her fourth HWA Bram Stoker for The Four Elements, a collection of poetry inspired by the four elements released in 2012, and published by Bad Moon Books. The book was inspired by a discussion between Addison and Houarner about female Bram Stoker Award-winners. Addison contacted three Bram Stoker Award-winning female authors and asked them to choose their "element." Marge Simon (Earth), Rain Graves (Water), Charlee Jacob (Fire) and Addison (Air).
Addison separated from Ken Addison in 1992, and her divorce was finalized in 1995. Addison started a relationship with horror fiction writer Gerard Houarner in 1995; they married in 2004 but have since divorced.
Addison is an avid practitioner of T'ai chi.
Dark Duet, a collaborative book of poetry, written with Stephen M. Wilson, inspired by music. It was a finalist for the 2012 Horror Writers Association's Bram Stoker Award.
Addison has cited numerous creative influences throughout her life including Edgar Allan Poe, William Shakespeare, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Gil-Scott Heron, Langston Hughes, and David Lynch.