Anne Holt was born in Larvik, grew up in Lillestrøm and Tromsø, and moved to Oslo in 1978. She graduated with a law degree from the University of Bergen in 1986, and went on to work for The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) and then the Oslo Police Department, earning her right to practice as a lawyer in Norway. In 1990 she returned to NRK, where she worked one year as a journalist and anchor woman for the news program Dagsrevyen.
Holt started her own law practice in 1994, and served as Minister of Justice in Cabinet Jagland for a short period from November 25, 1996 to February 4, 1997.
In 1993 Holt made her debut as a novelist with the crime novel Blind gudinne, featuring the lesbian police officer Hanne Wilhelmsen. The two novels Løvens gap (1997) and Uten ekko(2000) are co-authored with former state secretary Berit Reiss-Andersen.