Theresa Papenfus grew up in the Boland and matriculated at Worcester. She studied languages at the University of Stellenbosch and starter her career as a reporter at Beeld newspaper, Pretoria in 1975.
Since 1979 she was a full time mother for her three sons, while writing short stories, essays, sketches and articles for various publications. A volume essays was published by JL van Schaik Publishers in 1980. She did freelance work for various publishers until 1991, when she became head of Fiction and Nonfiction at JL van Schaik Publishers, Pretoria. Here she handled the publication and marketing of titles in various genres and received the Jan J van Schaik Award for Excellence in 1994.
In 2000 she started Litera Publications as her own publishing house. Beside the work of valued authors, Theresa’s biography Pik Botha and his times (2010) appeared at Litera in both English and Afrikaans.
In 2013 her work received broader exposure by the International Quality Era Award in Geneva, Switzerland.
Theresa Papenfus is a member of the South African Academy of Science and Art. She is also a member of PEN Afrikaans.
She is married to civil engineer Dr Awie Papenfus. The couple moved to the Western Cape in 2015.
They live in Somerset West.