Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Vaughan graduated from the creative writing program at the University of New Brunswick. He was playwright-in-residence at Buddies in Bad Times in 1994-95, and has published numerous works, including poetry, fiction, stage plays and journalism for Utne Reader, Xtra! and The Globe and Mail. He was openly gay.
In October 2020 he was reported missing in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he was working as writer in residence at the University of New Brunswick. Vaughan was found dead by Fredericton Police on October 23, 2020.
- The InCorrupt Tables (Wild East/Salamanca Chapbooks, 1992 (reprinted 1995), poetry)
- William Forrestali's (Muted) Cornucopia (Studio 21 Halifax, 1992, art catalogue)
- Beyond Bad Times (Snowapple Press, 1993, anthology)
- Expressions: Writing About Psychiatric Survival (Expressions Press, 1993, anthology)
- Shout and Speak Out Loud: Atlantic Canadians on Child Sexual Abuse (Wild East, 1993, anthology)
- Semiotext(e) CANADAS (Semiotext(e) Publications, 1994, anthology)
- Plush (Coach House Press, 1995, anthology)
- Symbiosis: The Clinic (Symbiosis Collective, 1995, art catalogue)
- The Last Word (Insomniac Press, 1995, anthology)
- a selection of dazzling scarves (ECW Press, 1996, poetry)
- DISCovering Authors: Canadian Series (Gale Research, 1996, CD Rom)
- Carnival: A Scream In High Park Reader (Insomniac Press, 1996, anthology)
- Painted, Tainted, Sainted by Sky Gilbert (PUC Press, 1996, introduction)
- Blues and True Concussions: 6 New Poets (House of Anansi, 1996, anthology)
- To Monsieur Desmoulins... (Tortoise Shell and Black, 1997, poetry chapbook)
- Gay Love Poetry (Robinson Publishing U.K. 1997, anthology)
- The Ecstatic Moment: The Best of Libido (Dell Books, 1997, anthology)
- 96 Tears (in my jeans) (Broken Jaw Press, 1998, poetry chapbook)
- A Quilted Heart (Insomniac Press, 1998, novel)
- Contra/Dictions: Queer Male Fiction (Arsenal Pulp Press, 1998, anthology).
- Written in the Skin (Insomniac Press, 1998, anthology)
- Rhubarb-O-Rama! (Blizzard Press, 1998, anthology of plays)
- Restless Requiem: Catherine Hale's Seductive Altars (Art Centre, University of New Brunswick Press, 1998, art catalogue)
- Invisible to Predators (ECW Press, 1999, poetry)
- Camera, Woman (2001, drama)
- Spells (2003, novel)
- The Monster Trilogy (2003, drama)
- Ruined Stars (2004, poetry)
- Troubled: A Memoir in Poems (2008, poetry)
- Bright Eyed (2015, memoir)
- Vaughan, R. M. (2018). One year after. New Brunswick chapbook series #6. Victoria, BC: Frog Hollow Press. ISBN 978-1-926948-62-1.
- Vaughan, R. M. (2019). Ve1xe. New Brunswick Chapbook Series #11. Victoria, BC: Frog Hollow Press. ISBN 9781926948843.
- Compared to Hitler (Tightrope Books, 2013, selected essays)
- "Obituary of Richard Vaughan". Brenan Group Ltd. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
- Colin H. Smith, "'A psychotic assembly of Post-it notes'; R.M. Vaughan's latest exhibit challenges our need to order pictures and words". Telegraph Journal, March 25, 2000.
- "Missing New Brunswick writer Richard Vaughan found dead". Global News. October 24, 2020. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
- Nathaniel G. Moore, "Writer RM Vaughan lived with me during COVID-19, before he died — we were friends, confidantes, collaborators". Toronto Star, October 25, 2020.
- Mitchel Raphael, "Where gay goes after the mainstream". Toronto Star, May 17, 1998.
- Brett Josef Grubisic, "RM Vaughan tries to keep Bright Eyed in new book". Daily Xtra, May 14, 2015.
- Rachel Cave, "N.B. writers and LGBTQ community 'very worried' about missing mentor Richard Vaughan". CBC News New Brunswick, October 14, 2020.