Birthe Arnbak grew up in a forester’s family in Gammel Estrup Skovridergård in Djursland, completed her schooling at the lower secondary school Randers Statsskole in 1942, went on to university, and married in the same year. She made her debut in 1945 with the collection of poems Spejlet, a collection which ranked her among the late symbolist poets of post-war poetry.
Her works – short stories, prose poetry, and lyric poetry alike – revolve around the theme of the ambiguous and promising, yet dangerous, universe of the child. Her poetry collections Skjulesteder, 1955, and Forventningernes land, 1985, are considered to be the pinnacles of her work. Her collections Ingen mands land, 1989, and Huset i Devon, 1997, deal with the subjects of death and old age, and her elegant, reminiscent collections Morgenstund. Billeder fra en barndom, 1975, and Aftenstund. Samtale med min far, were published in 1995.
Additions by the editorial team 2011:
The above biography was first published in 1998. Since then, Arnbak wrote the poetry collections Skyggesang, 1999, and Det leende træ, 2002, as well as the children’s book Mod og sammenhold, 1997, and the memoirs Stumper og stykker, 2004.
She was the recipient of numerous prizes and honours, including the Edith Rode endowment (1958), the Kai Hoffmann endowment (1961), the Danish Literature Prize for Women (1985), the Danish Arts Foundation Grant (1987), The Morten Nielsen Memorial Endowment (1994), and the Limfjord Region Literature Prize.