Barbara von Wulffen, née Gräfin von Podewils, is the daughter of married writers Clemens Graf von Podewils and Sophie Dorothee von Podewils. She spent her childhood at the family estate in West Bohemia. After World War II, the family was forced to leave and moved to Weilheim in Oberbayern. After high school, she began studying biology in Munich, but gave it up to earn a doctoral degree in German studies in 1961. She worked as a reviewer of children's books for the Süddeutsche Zeitung and later wrote essays on the subjects of family and nature. She made her debut as an author with Urns Full of Honey (1989), a memoir of her childhood. In 1993, she published her short story collection Maureen: Irish Stories. She was awarded the 1999 Eichendorff Prize for Literature.