Anne Ridler was born Anne Bradby into a literary English family. Her father H.C. Bradby was a poet and housemaster at Rugby School and her mother, Violet Bradby, née Milford, wrote popular children's stories. Her uncle G.F. Bradby was a novelist, and her aunt Barbara Bradby was also an author. Her cousins included the composer Robin Milford. Anne was educated at the Downe House School, near Newbury, Berkshire, and then traveled in Italy before earning a diploma in journalism from King's College London. She worked on an anthology for poet Lascelles Abercrombie and became acquainted with many writers in London. In 1934, she began working at the publishing house Faber and Faber; a year later, she became the assistant and secretary there to T.S. Eliot, helping him with the literary journal Criterion, which he was editing, and reading manuscripts, a task she continued to perform long after leaving the firm in 1940. In 1938, she married Vivian Ridler, a printer and manager of a small press, with whom she had four children. Her husband's press printed her first volume, Poems (1939) for Oxford University Press. Her next publication was a pamphlet commissioned by Tambimuttu, the Ceylon-born editor of Poetry London. T.S. Eliot encouraged Anne Ridler's early writing, and published her next substantial volume, A Dream Observed (1941). During World War II and the post-war period, Anne Ridler was a fashionable poet and her work was regularly included in anthologies. She was awarded the Oscar Blumenthal prize in 1954, and the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Poetry Prize in 1955. She also wrote a dozen verse plays, several of which, including The Shadow Factory: A Nativity Play (1946), were performed in London and Oxford. In 1948, the family moved to Oxford, where Vivian Ridler became printer to Oxford University Press. Anne edited a number of texts and critical studies, and became a friend of the Inklings group. She then turned her hand to librettos and became a leading translator of operas, including many by Monteverdi, Cavalli, and Mozart.