Madhu Jain was educated at Connecticut College in the United States, following which she did her master's in literature from Delhi University and studied French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. In the Seventies she worked as a reporter for the Statesman, moving towards the end of the decade to the Sunday magazine to write on politics, foreign affairs and culture. She was also the New Delhi correspondent with the French national daily, La Croix, for a decade before she joined India Today in 1986, where she remained until 2000. Since then she has written for several publications, including Outlook and the Hindu, on contemporary life, art and cinema. She has curated two art exhibitions-Kitsch Kitsch Hota Hai on kitsch and the contemporary imagination, and the other on the painter Viswanadhan.
Madhu Jain lives in Delhi with her physicist husband Krishna Jain. They have two children.