Luise Rinser was born to a middle-class family in Pitzling in Upper Bavaria, Germany. She studied psychology and teaching at the University of Munich and received a teacher's certificate in 1934. She taught grade school and wrote her first short stories for the journal Herdfeuer. Her first book was Rings of Glass (1941), a coming-of-age novel. In 1939, she gave up teaching and married Horst Günther Schnell, a composer and choir director with whom she had two children. He died on the Russian Front in World War II. After his death, she married Klaus Herrmann, another writer; this marriage was annulled around 1952. Her third husband was composer Carl Orff, whom she divorced in 1960. In 1944, she was accused of treason by the Nazi regime, convicted, and sent to Traunstein women's prison where she survived by stealing food. She later described her experiences in a book based on her diaries, Gefängnistagebuch (A Woman's Prison Journal, 1946), which became a bestseller. After the war, she was a freelance writer for the newspaper Neue Zeitung München. She became one of the most celebrated and politically engaged authors in Germany, publishing about 30 works that included novels, short stories, and political essays. In 1984, she was proposed by the Green Party as a Presidential candidate.