German Female Writers

Throughout history, there have been many German women writers who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great German female writers such as Anne Frank, Cornelia Funke, Herta Müller, Franka Potente, Heike Makatsch.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite German Female Writers

 1 Anne Frank

Anne Frank
15
Famous As: Diarist
Birthdate: June 12, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 12, 1945

One of the numerous Jewish victims of the Holocaust, Anne Frank gained recognition posthumously after her diary Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was published. The diary, which has been widely read and translated into numerous other languages, details the lives of Anne Frank and her family when they went into hiding for two years, after Germany occupied Netherlands.

 2 Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt
5
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 14, 1906
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Linden - Mitte, Hanover, Germany
Died: December 4, 1975

Hannah Arendt was a political theorist. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most prominent political thinkers, Hannah Arendt's articles and books have had a significant influence on philosophy and political theory. Her life and work inspired the 2012 biographical drama film, Hannah Arendt. Her work has also inspired several biographies written by popular authors.

 3 Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen
4
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: November 30, 1098
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bermersheim vor der Höhe, Germany
Died: September 17, 1179

Hildegard of Bingen was a German writer, composer, Christian mystic, visionary, philosopher, polymath, and Benedictine abbess of the High Middle Ages. Apart from being the most-recorded composers of sacred monophony in modern history, Hildegard of Bingen is also widely regarded as the founder of scientific natural history.

 4 Ruth Westheimer

Ruth Westheimer
5
Famous As: Media Personality
Birthdate: June 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Karlstadt am Main, Germany
German-American sex therapist Ruth Westheimer, also known as Dr. Ruth, soared to fame with the radio show Sexually Speaking and later hosted many sexuality-related shows and wrote many books, too. She is also an ethnographer and a Holocaust survivor. Her life inspired the documentary Ask Dr. Ruth.

 5 Margot Frank

Margot Frank
4
Famous As: Second World War victim
Birthdate: February 16, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany
Died: March 9, 1945

 6 Assia Wevill

Assia Wevill
4
Famous As: Poet mainly remembered in the context of her relationships with and influences on Sylvia Plath and Hughes
Birthdate: May 15, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 23, 1969

Assia Wevill was an aspiring German poet and domestic-partner of English poet Ted Hughes. She escaped the Nazis at the start of the Second World War and eventually settled in the UK, where she got romantically involved with Hughes. She killed herself and her daughter the same way Hughes's first wife, Sylvia Plath, had killed herself six years earlier.

 7 Maria Riva

Maria Riva
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 13, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany

Born to actor Marlene Dietrich, Maria Riva started her career as a child actor, working in films such as The Scarlet Empress. The Emmy-nominated actor had also been part of CBS teleplays such as The Milton Berle Show. She had penned a bestselling memoir on her mother, too.

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 8 Lina Heydrich

Lina Heydrich
3
Famous As: Former Writer, Reinhard Heydrich's wife
Birthdate: June 14, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fehmarn, Germany
Died: August 14, 1985

 9 Lilli Palmer

Lilli Palmer
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 24, 1914
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Poznań, Poland
Died: January 27, 1986

 10 Christine Kaufmann

Christine Kaufmann
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 11, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mitterberg-Sankt Martin, Austria
Died: March 28, 2017

German-Austrian actress, author, and businesswoman Christine Kaufmann gained attention of post-war German movie audiences with her performances in films like Rosen-Resli, Der schweigende Engel and Ein Herz schlägt für Erika. She became the first German to be honoured with Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress for her performance in the drama film Town Without Pity.

 11 Senta Berger

Senta Berger
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria

It is believed Austrian actor Senta Berger was suspended by the Max-Reinhardt-Seminar, where she studied drama, after she bagged her first movie role. The three-time Bambi Award winner is known for her roles in films such as The Quiller Memorandum. She is also involved with peace and environmental activism.

 12 Angela Gossow

Angela Gossow
3
Famous As: Vocalist
Birthdate: November 5, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany

German singer Angela Gossow is best known to fans as the lead vocalist of the Swedish death metal band Arch Enemy. She is one of the few female singers who use death grunts as part of their performances. An atheist and a vegan, she is quite vocal about her opinions.

 13 Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr
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Famous As: Writer and illustrator whose books sold more than 10 million copies around the world
Birthdate: June 14, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: May 22, 2019

 14 Traudl Junge

Traudl Junge
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Famous As: Former editor who worked as Adolf Hitler's last private secretary from December 1942 to April 1945
Birthdate: March 16, 1920
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: February 10, 2002

After being rejected by a dance school, Traudl Junge ditched her plan of becoming a ballerina and mastered typing instead. She later served as Adolf Hitler’s typist and was the youngest of his secretaries. After staying silent for years, she eventually revealed her experience to Austrian filmmaker Andre Heller.

 15 Lou Andreas-Salomé

Lou Andreas-Salomé
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Famous As: Psychoanalyst
Birthdate: February 12, 1861
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: February 5, 1937

Russian-born German author Lou Andreas-Salomé apparently rejected renowned philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s marriage proposal and then married a professor instead. A skilled psychoanalyst, she was also close to Rainer Maria Rilke and Sigmund Freud. She was one of the first to offer a psychoanalytic perspective to female sexuality.

 16 Jennifer Teege

Jennifer Teege
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 29, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Munich, Germany

 17 Nelly Sachs

Nelly Sachs
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Famous As: Former Poet, Playwright particularly known for Eli: Ein Mysterienspiel vom Leiden Israels, a 1950 play based on her World War II experiences
Birthdate: December 10, 1891
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany
Died: May 12, 1970

Nelly Leonie Sachs, internationally noted German-Swedish poet and dramatist, wrote conventional romantic poems until the rise of Nazism brought about a drastic change in her life. Forced to flee to Sweden, she began writing about the grief and yearnings of her fellow Jews, concurrently translating German works into Swedish and vice-versa. She won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966.

 18 Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Funke
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Famous As: Author of children’s fiction
Birthdate: December 10, 1958
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dorsten, Germany

Named to Time 100 in 2015, Cornelia Funke is a German children’s author who soared to fame with her best-selling novels The Thief Lord and Dragon Rider before achieving international fame with her Inkheart novel series. She has previously been a social worker, a board-game designer, and an illustrator.

 19 Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche

Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche
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Famous As: Archivist
Birthdate: July 10, 1846
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Röcken
Died: November 8, 1935

 20 Ursula Haverbeck

Ursula Haverbeck
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 8, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Winterscheid, Gilserberg, Germany

 21 Jil Sander

Jil Sander
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Famous As: Fashion designer
Birthdate: November 27, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wesselburen, Germany

German designer Jil Sander had been a fashion editor for Petra before she launched her own boutique. She is known for her signature minimalist aesthetic and her association with Prada, which had acquired 75% shares of her company. She later collaborated with Fast Retailing to design for Uniqlo.

 22 Herta Müller

Herta Müller
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 17, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nitchidorf, Romania

Nobel Prize-winning author Herta Müller grew up under the dictatorial regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania. She was fired from her first job for not co-operating with the Romanian secret police. Her works, such as Oppressive Tango and The Passport, mirror the oppression of Germans she has witnessed in Romania.

 23 Kristiane Backer

Kristiane Backer
3
Famous As: Television presenter
Birthdate: December 13, 1965
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany

 24 Petra Hammesfahr

Petra Hammesfahr
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 10, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Erkelenz, Germany

 25 Hito Steyerl

Hito Steyerl
3
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: January 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Munich, Germany

 26 Thea von Harbou

Thea von Harbou
3
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: December 27, 1888
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tauperlitz, Döhlau, Germany
Died: July 1, 1954

 27 Erika Mann

Erika Mann
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 9, 1905
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Munich, German Empire
Died: August 27, 1969

 28 Sabine Hossenfelder

Sabine Hossenfelder
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 18, 1976
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

 29 Hildegard Knef

Hildegard Knef
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 28, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ulm, Germany
Died: February 1, 2002

 30 Konstanze von Schulthess

Konstanze von Schulthess
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 27, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany

 31 Katrin Himmler

Katrin Himmler
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: 1967 AD
Birthplace: Dinslaken, Germany

 32 Ilse Pröhl

Ilse Pröhl
3
Famous As: Rudolf Hess' wife
Birthdate: June 22, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany
Died: September 7, 1995

 33 Ursula Kuczynski

Ursula Kuczynski
3
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: May 15, 1907
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany
Died: July 7, 2000

 34 Méret Oppenheim

Méret Oppenheim
3
Famous As: Surrealist artist and photographer
Birthdate: October 6, 1913
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: November 15, 1985
Méret Oppenheim is best remembered for her surrealist art such as Object: Breakfast in Fur. She also modeled for artists. Throughout her career, she had created furniture, jewelry, and even poetry. In her performance piece Spring Feast, she laid out a banquet on top of a nude woman.

 35 Anita Berber

Anita Berber
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: June 10, 1899
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: November 10, 1928

Anita Berber was a German dancer, writer, and actress. Berber's addiction to drugs and her choice of clothing in public events, which challenged social taboos at that time, overshadowed her professional achievements. In addition to her personal life, Anita Berber also achieved notoriety as a dancer; some of her performances featured total nudity. She died of tuberculosis at age 29.

 36 Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
3
Famous As: Former avant-garde, Dadaist artist and poet who worked for several years in Greenwich Village, New York
Birthdate: July 12, 1874
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Swinoujscie, Poland
Died: December 14, 1927

Part of the German avant-garde movement and a prominent Dadaist, poet and artist Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven is best remembered for her sound poetry and her posthumously published book Body Sweats. It is believed the famous urinal Fountain sculpture thought to be a work of Marcel Duchamp was actually created by Elsa.

 37 Iris Berben

Iris Berben
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 12, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Detmold, Germany

 38 Nadja Regin

Nadja Regin
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 2, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Niš, Serbia
Died: April 6, 2019

 39 Else Lasker-Schüler

Else Lasker-Schüler
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 11, 1869
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Elberfeld, Wuppertal, Germany
Died: January 22, 1945

One of the rare female Expressionist authors, Else Lasker-Schüler is best remembered for plays such as Die Wupper. Known for her bohemian and eccentric lifestyle, she fled the Nazis and moved first to Switzerland and then to Jerusalem. Owing to her extravagant expenses, she died in poverty.

 40 August Bebel

August Bebel
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Famous As: Former Politician best remembered as one of the founders of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (SDAP) in 1869
Birthdate: February 22, 1840
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Deutz, Cologne, Germany
Died: August 13, 1913

 41 Elizabeth von Arnim

Elizabeth von Arnim
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 31, 1866
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kirribilli Point, Australia
Died: February 9, 1941

 42 Johanna Budwig

Johanna Budwig
3
Famous As: Biochemist
Birthdate: September 30, 1908
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Germany
Died: May 19, 2003

German biochemist and pharmacist Johanna Budwig is best remembered for her anti-cancer diet known as the Budwig diet. Her extensive research on fatty acids helped her create the diet that consists of flaxseed oil, cottage cheese, and low-fat milk. However, there’s no scientific evidence that proves the effectiveness of the diet.

 43 Giulia Enders

Giulia Enders
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1990 AD
Birthplace: Mannheim, Germany

 44 Margret Rey

Margret Rey
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 16, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: December 21, 1996

 45 Marie d'Agoult

Marie d'Agoult
3
Famous As: French author
Birthdate: December 31, 1805
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Died: March 5, 1876

 46 Annemarie Schimmel

Annemarie Schimmel
2
Famous As: Orientalist
Birthdate: April 7, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Erfurt, Germany
Died: January 26, 2003

 47 Christa Wolf

Christa Wolf
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: March 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gorzów Wielkopolski, Poland
Died: December 1, 2011

Christa Wolf was a German novelist. She studied literature at the University of Leipzig and began working for the German Writers' Union. She eventually became an editor for a publication and started writing novels as well. The novels Der geteilte Himmel and Kassandra are among her most important works. She was a recipient of the Nelly Sachs Literature Prize. 

 48 Esther Vilar

Esther Vilar
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 16, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Born to German-Jewish immigrants in Argentina, Esther Vilar studied medicine before she moved to Germany to study psychology and sociology. After taking up scores of odd jobs, she soared to international fame with her bestselling book The Manipulated Man, which argues that women aren’t oppressed but control men in relationships.

 49 Hrosvitha

Hrosvitha
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 0935 AD
Birthplace: Saxony, Germany
Died: 1002 AD

Considered the first German female poet and historian Hrosvitha was a Benedictine nun for most of her life. Her writings provided a woman’s perspective of the history of her era. Her works include narrative poems on Christian legends and comedies with Christian themes written in Latin.

 50 Bertha Pappenheim

Bertha Pappenheim
2
Famous As: Feminist, a social pioneer, and the founder of the Jewish Women's Association
Birthdate: February 27, 1859
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: May 28, 1936

Austrian-Jewish feminist and social worker Bertha Pappenheim founded the Jewish Women's Association (Jüdischer Frauenbund), mainly with the objective of improving women's experiences in the Jewish community. She was treated by Austrian physician Josef Breuer for nervous symptoms and her case study (under the pseudonym Anna O.) found place in Breuer’s book Studies on Hysteria, co-authored with Sigmund Freud.