Paul Hetherington was educated at the University of Western Australia, completing a PhD on Emily Dickinson.
Before moving to Canberra in 1990, to take up a position at the National Library of Australia, Hetherington was the editor of Fremantle Arts Review. Subsequently, he was the founding editor of the quarterly humanities journal Voices. Hetherington has edited National Library of Australia News since 1990 and has been the National Library's publisher since 1994.
Primarily a poet, Hetherington also edited and introduced The Diaries of Donald Friend. Volume 2, The Diaries of Donald Friend. Volume 3 and The Diaries of Donald Friend. Volume 4.