Emilia Pardo Bazán was born in the seaport of La Coruña, the only child of wealthy Spanish aristocrats. A voracious reader, she started writing at a young age. Her first short story was published in 1866, In 1867, at age 18, she married José Quiroga, a much older man, and the couple went to live in Madrid. The condesa (she inherited the title in 1908) wrote essays and articles, and in 1876 won a prize for the best essay about the Enlightenment thinker Benito Jerónimo Feijoo. Her first novel, Pascual Lopez, was published in 1879. Emilia Pardo Bazán produced more than 600 short works and 18 novels, and was recognized as a leader in introducing feminism, realism, and naturalism to Spanish literature. She also travelled extensively through Europe in the early 1870s with her husband and parents and later on her own. Travel fuelled her interests in other European languages and the literary and intellectual ideas circulating in France, Germany and England. She presided over a famous literary salon in Madrid and introduced French and Russian writers to the public. She was later appointed a counsellor on public education, and named to a chair as professor of Contemporary Literature and Romance Languages at the Universidad Central of Madrid in 1916, the first woman to hold such a position. She was also a publisher of the Biblioteca de la Mujer (The Woman's Library), a series of biographies, translated novels, and books on topics of interest to women. In 1921, she was appointed to the Spanish Senate but never formally took her seat.