Buechner graduated from Lawrenceville School in 1943 and was accepted to Princeton University. Buechner ended up spending two years (1944-1946) fighting in World War II before he could finish his studies at Princeton. Upon returning to Princeton, Buechner received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1947.
In 1948, Buechner returned to Lawrenceville as an English teacher. In 1950, Buechner published his first novel, A Long Day's Dying, which he had began writing during his senior year at Princeton. Buechner quit teaching in 1953 and moved to New York to become a full time writer.
Buechner then began attending Union Theological Seminary, and received his Bachelor of Divinity Degree in 1958.
His most critically acclaimed novel, Godric, is the semi-fictionalized story of the life of a medieval Catholic saint, Godric of Finchale, told from his own perspective. Godric was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1981.