Dorothea Rosa Herliany was born in Magelang, Central Java in 1963. After graduating from the Indonesian Language and Literature Faculty of Sanata Dharma Catholic University in Yogyakarta, she worked for several years as a journalist and freelance writer. Beside poetry, she has also written short stories, essays, and art and drama criticism. Her writings have been published by the major magazines and newspapers in Indonesia.
Her books include Nyanyian Gaduh (Noisy songs), Matahari yang Mengalir (The Sun Flows like a River, 1990), Kepompong Sunyi (The Lonely Cocoon, 1993), Nikah Ilalang (Married to the Grass, 1995), Blencong (Oil Lamp, 1995), Karikatur dan Sepotong Cinta (Caricatures and a Slice of Love, 1996), Mimpi Gugur Daun Zaitun (Dreams of Falling Olive Leaves, 1999), Sebuah Radio Kumatikan (Kill the Radio, 2001), Life Sentences: Selected Poems (2004) and Santa Rosa (Saint Rosa, 2005). The volume Saint Rosa received the prestigious Khatulistiwa Literary Award for Poetry in November 2006.
Currently she resides in a small village near Magelang, where she is Director of IndonesiaTera, a non-profit organisation working in the area of social and cultural research, publication, documentation, and the development of information networks relating to culture, education, and social awareness.