Rita Tornborg was born in Poland. Her mother was Polish, her father Swedish. She has lived in Sweden since 1943, and works as a critic for the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
She made her debut at the age of forty-four with Paukes gerilla (N), 1970. Her milieu is the city, usually contemporary Stockholm. Fantasy is her most important tool, while aesthetics are secondary. With an interest in the city and the attitudes to life that are formed and confronted there, Rita Tornborg employs the legacy of the nineteenth century European novel. This is true of her novels Hansson och Goldman, 1974, Friedmans hus, 1976, and Salomos namnsdag, 1979. In her first five books, the world is seen mainly through male eyes; however, in Systrarna (N), 1982, and above all in her subsequent work Rosalie (N), 1991, the perspective is a female one. This is not simply a shift in the writer's perspective, but a new, thematic new orientation.