Born in what was then Karl-Marx-Stadt in the German Democratic Republic, Kirsten Hensel worked as a nurse before turning to literature in the early 1980s. Like many East German writers she studied for a time at the Institut Johannes R. Becher in Leipzig.
As well as being a prolific freelance writer, she is also a highly respected teacher. She joined the Ernst Busch Drama School in Berlin in the late 1980s, and was appointed Professor of Declamation in 2001. Alongside her work as a lyric poet, she also writes novels, short stories, radio plays, dramas and essays. She is the recipient of many prizes, including the Leonce-und-Lena Prize and the Anna-Seghers Prize, and is a member of the PEN and the Saxon Academy of Arts. (2019)