Martha Christensen was born in Copenhagen and worked as a teacher at a recreation centre until 1986.
She made her debut with poems and short stories published in the literary magazine Vild Hvede 1949-1951. Vær god ved Remond (N), 1962, is the first in a series of books on the theme of social work, which is portrayed both as the system’s destruction of the weak and as the individual’s, often vain, attempt to help. This theme is taken up again in Manden som ville ingen ondt, 1989. In Som de vil ha’ dig (N), 1974, and Vores egen Irene (N), 1976, which interpret women’s issues of the 1970s, the strong use the weak to project their own fear. The group props itself up on the outsider.
Dansen med Regitze (N) (1987; Eng. tr. Memories of a Marriage), which was made into a film in 1989, brought her extensive and popular writing its largest audience yet with the portrayal of a working-class heroine who preserves her integrity and combines strength and solicitude. Når mor kommer hjem (N), 1995, about three children growing up alone while their mother is in prison, was released as a film in 1998. A selection of her short stories was published posthumously.