Because of the war and the conditions in the post-war years he was not able to complete school until 1949, when he graduated from a secondary school in Giessen specialising in Latin and Greek. He then studied philosophy, German, psychology and theology in Marburg and Heidelberg. After completing his studies he became a pastor and later worked as a religion teacher. Arnulf Zitelmann has been working as an independent writer since 1992.
His children's books often address historical themes and individual stories that put the reader at the centre of the historical period.
For his complete works Arnulf Zitelmann has received the Grand Prize of the German Academy for Literature for Children and Young Adults and the Friedrich-Bödecker Prize (both in 1994).
Arnulf Zitelmann now lives with his family in Ober-Ramstadt in the state of Hessen.