Her first book, Monkeys, won the 1987 Prix Femina Étranger. She has also received an O. Henry Prize and a Pushcart Prize for her writing.
Sexuality and the difficulties of romantic relationships are a constant theme in Minot's work. Her second book, Lust and Other Stories, focuses on "the relations between men and women in their twenties and thirties having difficulty coming together and difficulty breaking apart". Reviewing her novella Rapture in The Atlantic Monthly, James Marcus notes that "Sex and the single girl have seldom been absent from Susan Minot's fiction", and Dave Welch at Powells.com identifies one of Minot's themes as "the emotional safeguards within family and romantic relations that hold people apart". About Lust, Jill Franks observes that Minot
"begins with short, simple sentences, building gradually to longer ones to create the inevitable conclusion: men don't love like women do. Her logic appears in simple two-or three-liners that capture a sense of futility."
Minot wrote a book of poems, Poems 4 a.m., in 2002. Several of the poems had been published in The New Yorker.
In 2014 Minot's novel "Thirty Girls" came out. Jane, an American journalist, goes to Uganda to report on Kone, a militant rebel leader who kidnaps children from their schools and turns them into soldiers, concubines and drug addicts. Minot simultaneously and movingly tells the gripping story of thirty girls who are kidnapped and brutally treated by Kone's followers. Jane visits the convent where the girls were taken and meets Esther, one of the thirty victims.
Minot teaches creative writing at New York University and Stony Brook University.
Minot has co-authored two screenplays that have been made into films: Stealing Beauty (1996) with Bernardo Bertolucci, and Evening (based on her novel of the same name, 2007), written with Michael Cunningham.