Born in Klagenfurt, Kärnten (Carinthia), and studied philosophy and psychology in Innsbruck, Gratz, and Vienna. In 1950 she lives in paris and London. In 1951, she started working as an editor at an Austrian radio station, where she wrote her first radio play.
In 1952 she acchieved breakthrough by reading her lyrical poetry at a "Gruppe 47" meeting, a loose confederation of writers known for their ardent interest in theory and debatte. From 1953 she kept moving between Vienna, Zurich, Naples and Rome.
During the course of her life she published a relatively small number of works - two collections of poems, two books of short stories, a novel. Furthermore, essays, radio plays, and libretti for two operas, Der Prinz von Homburg and Der junge Lord, composed by her friend Hans Werner Henze.
When she died she left behind a collection of drafts, containing appr. 10,000 pages. The manuscripts have been published, with a title often used by Ingeborg herself: Todesarten - Projekt (Piper Verlag 1995, ed. Monika Albrecht, Dirk Göttsche). The five volumes contain very fragmentary sketches as well as completed stories. Only in three instances were these works actually published.
The novel Malina, which was her first book of the genre, was published in 1971, and the following year came the story collection Simultan. Malina was part of her unfinished project Todesarten cycle (Ways of Dying).
Her works also includes a speech she wrote when she received the Georg Büchner prize in 1964, and it was published in book form the year after, with drawings by Günther Grass. Among other things, the speech Ein Ort für Zufälle is a meditation upon the city of Berlin. In 1965 she moved definitively to Rome.
In the fall of 1966 she starts on the most intensive phase of her work. She writes simultaneously on a whole series of narratives. One of them, a large novel, in this editon called Goldmann/Rottwitz-Roman, the names of two families. In another project she collects stories about women in Vienna; parts of the material (Wienerinnen) found its final form in the story volume Simultan.
Ingeborg Bachmann died in the fall of 1973, a consequence of a fire in her appartment in Via Giulia, in Rome. The circumstances behind this fire have remained a mystery. She is buried in her native town of Klagenfurt in Austria.
Ingeborg Bachmann is one of the major players in Austrian literature. She was awarded many prices. One of Austria's major annual literary awards was named in her honor Ingeborg Bachmann price. Some of her short stories and radio plays have been turned into movies.