Marianna Debes Dahl was born to a district medical officer in Tórshavn and went to a Danish boarding school at the age of twelve. After spending a year as an exchange student in the USA and studying literature at the University of Copenhagen, she qualified as a teacher on the Faroe Islands in 1975 and subsequently became a school and college teacher and museum instructor at the Faroe Islands’ nature museum, the Føroya Nátturugripasavn. She has been chair of the association of writers, active in left-wing circles since the 1960s, and from 1983 to 1993 was a critic for the communist newspaper Fríu Føroyar. She is married to an education college teacher, editor, and text-book author, and has two children.
Marianna Debes Dahl’s book Burtur á heiði, 1975, won a children’s book award, and she has written many books for children and teenagers, which, like her later novels, focus on the contrast between rural and urban life. Her key works are Lokkalogi (N), 1984, Onglalag, (N), 1986, Faldalín (N), 1988, and the historical novel Vívil, in which the norms of capitalist society are confronted with socialist and female cultural values. Her autobiography Úti á leysum oyggjum was published in 1997.