Alfhild Agrell, née Martin, was born in Härnösand in northern Sweden to a family of confectioners. In 1868, she married Per Albert Agrell, a businessman, and went to live in Stockholm; they were later divorced. She began writing under the pseudonyms Thyra, Lovisa Petterqvist, and Stig Stigson, but eventually used her own name, which was unusual for a Swedish woman of that era. She made her literary debut in 1879 with a short story published in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Her first book was Pictures from Italy (1883), a collection of her travel sketches. She went on to become a well-known playwright, novelist, and short story writer. Most of her works concerned women's rights. She wrote about the sexual double standard for men and women, which was considered a daring and shocking subject. Her popular plays included Räddad (1882), Dömd (1884), Ensam (1886), and Ingrid. En döds kärlekssaga (1900). She was associated with the group of writers and artists known as Unga Sverige (Young Sweden), and was a member of Nya Idun, a women’s debating society.