Grethe Risbjerg Thomsen was born into a teacher's family in southern Jutland, completed higher upper secondary schooling in 1943, and married in 1948. After publishing her first poems in Vild Hvede, 1943, she made her debut with Digte, 1945. Her third poetry collection Dagen og Natten, 1948, was a success. In her writing, primarily poetry, the longing for love is confronted by loneliness as a fate and the poet’s prerequisite, creating a tension that lends her poems a particular shade of melancholy. In her poetry collection Træerne i byen, 1950, reconciliation and enlightenment are sought in the nature myth. Her other poetic works are Udvalgte digte 1945-64, 1966, and Dobbelte landskaber, 1973.
In 1966 Grethe Risbjerg Thomsen made her debut as a novelist with her experimental, symbolic novel En verden uden navn about a young woman's path in a no-man's-land outside the law.