Peter Hacks was born in the Breslau region in south-western Germany in 1928 and spent his childhood in the Ruhr region. He studied sociology, philosophy, German and dramatic arts in Munich and completed his doctorate in 1951. During that time he also collaborated with James Krüss on scripts and poems for radio broadcasts. In 1955 he began to live and write in East Berlin, where his activities included writing poetry for the Deutsches Theater and serving as an adviser to the artistic director Wolfgang Langhoff. As of 1963 he worked as a freelance writer in Berlin.
Peter Hacks was a very successful playwright, poet, storyteller and essayist. His works for children included poems, stories, children's novels and fairy tales. He received numerous awards for his works, including the Special Prize on the occasion of the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1998.
Peter Hacks died in Groß Machnow near Berlin in 2003.