Anne Lise Koch grew up in an upper middle-class milieu and was privately tutored along with her brother. In 1934 she took the entrance examination for the Polytechnical College, where she studied until she married for the first time in 1936. She had altogether three husbands and five children, and when her debut novel Møde med sig selv about Danish Jews during the Danish occupation was published in 1950, she was a single mother with three children. Her debut work was followed by two popular novels, Hug en Hæl, 1952, and Tagfat med en drøm ... en slags roman, 1954.
Her most important endeavour was her work towards promoting women's research. In 1961, she took up a post at the Royal Library in Copenhagen, where she built up a documentation service for women's literature, which from 1979 became an independent organisation under the name of KVINFO. As the director of KVINFO, she published a series of women's studies from 1976 and the periodical Forum for Kvindeforskning from 1981. In 1984 she set up the publishing house Melusine.