Jeannie Ebner was born in Sydney, Australia, to Austrian parents. The family moved to back to Austria when she was a baby, and she grew up in Wiener Neustadt, south of Vienna. Her father died when she was eight years old and she lost her brother Hans to a lengthy illness a few years later. The experience of loss recurs in her writings. She left school as a teenager because her mother could no longer afford the fees, and worked as a shipping clerk. In 1938, she studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. After World War II, she worked as a typist for U.S. armed forces. She also began working as a freelance writer and translator from English. From 1968 to 1978, she was co-publisher and editor at the literary magazine Literatur und Kritik (Literature Review), where she promoted the works of young writers such as Ingeborg Bachmann, Marlen Haushofer, Gerhard Fritsch, Thomas Bernhard, and others. She wrote both poetry and prose and is considered an important figure of the Austrian post-war literature.
She was a member of the writers' association IG Autorinnen Autoren and Austrian PEN.