Born in Toronto, Ontario, Bowen was educated at the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo and the University of Saskatchewan. She subsequently taught English in Saskatchewan, and was associate professor of English at First Nations University of Canada before retiring from teaching.
Bowen's mystery novels feature Joanne Kilbourn, a widowed mother, political analyst and university professor who finds herself occasionally involved in criminal investigations in various parts of Saskatchewan. Many have been adapted as Canadian television movies by Shaftesbury Films.
She has had several plays produced., including Dancing in Poppies, an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, The Tree, and an adapatation of Peter Pan, all premiering at the Globe Theatre in Regina. Her radio play Dr. Doolittle was broadcast on CBC Radio in 2006. She wrote The World According to Charlie D., a radio play focusing on a radio talk show host, broadcast on CBC Radio in 2007. A follow-up episode about Charlie D. will air in August 2008 as part of the WorldPlay series , airing on public radio networks in six English speaking countries.