Marianne Kesting born in Germany and studied violin and music at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg. In 1957, she earned a Ph.D. degree in modern German literature, music and theater, with a dissertation on epic theater. After working as a theater and literary critic, she taught in the Department of General and Comparative Literature at the University of Bochum, where she was named professor emeritus in 1995. She is a member of the PEN Center Germany.
She's the author of a biography of Bertolt Brecht (1959) among other books, and has written numerous essays and feature articles.