Bell was born in Suffolk, England. Her father, Adrian Bell, created the first cryptic crossword for the British newspaper, The Times, a newspaper for which her son, Oliver Kamm, is now a columnist. Anthea Bell's brother, Martin Bell, is a former BBC news reporter who was later elected to Britain's parliament. He ran as an independent candidate on an anti-corruption platform.
Anthea Bell has translated many books from French, Danish, German and Polish into English. Her translations have included a new translation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales from the original Danish language text and the final book in the Inkhear series.. Belll has specialised in translating children's books but she has also adult novels and works on art history and musicology.
However, Bell is probably best known as a co-translator of the adventures of Asterix, having helped to make them a great success in the United Kingdom and some other English speaking countries.
Other works by Rene Goscinny translated by Bell include his comic strip Iznogoud and his short stories about a little boy Le petit Nicholas. Bell also translated the Wild West comic strip adventures of Lieutenant Blueberry out of French.