Ann Tizia Leitich was born into a cultured, upper-middle-class Vienna family and enjoyed a privileged upbringing and a rich education. She trained as a teacher, but did not enter the profession. In 1921, she experienced a nervous breakdown and left Austria for the USA, settling first in Chicago and working as a domestic servant. After a couple of years, she moved to New York City and became a foreign correspondent for the Austrian newspaper Neue Freie Presse and a script reviewer for MGM Studios. She became an American citizen. In 1926, she published her first collection of essays, America, Du hast es besser (America, You Are Much Luckier), based on her reporting. Her first novel, Ursula Entdeckt Amerika (Ursula Discovers America, 1926), drew on her own experiences as a housemaid. In the late 1920s, she returned to Vienna. She married Erich
Korningen, an Austrian government statistician, in 1928, and continued writing under her own name. During her career, she published more than 25 books of fiction, nonfiction, biographies, and works on Vienna's cultural history.