Anthea Bell was born in Suffolk, England, and is the daughter of writer Adrian Bell. She was educated at the University of Oxford (Somerville College) and has worked for many years as a freelance translator, mainly from French and German, also serving three terms on the committee of the UK Translators' Association, and nine years on the jury panel of the Schlegel-Tieck German translation prize. She was appointed OBE in the New Year Honours List 2010. Her translations include W. G. Sebold’s Austerlitz, which won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2002. She was awarded the Federal German Verdiestkreuz (Cross of Merit) in 2015.