Cecil Bødker was born in Fredericia, Denmark, the daughter of a silversmith. She trained as a silversmith herself, and worked for a while in the Georg Jensen workshop, but left the profession to focus on her writing. Her first collection of poems, Luseblomster, was published in 1955 under the name Cecil Skaar. She established her reputation as a prose writer in 1961, with a collection of short stories, Øjet (The Eye); several of these stories became classics read in Danish schools. In 1967, she published her first book for young adults. Her series of books about a character called Silas are her most popular and have been adapted into films. Her 1972 travel book Salthandlerskens hus was written after a lengthy stay in Ethiopia, which also led to her adoption of two daughters. Her novels Evas Ekko (1980) and Tænk på Jolande (1981) placed her writing at the center of modern women’s literature. She was the recipient of the 1966 Hans Christian Andersen Award from the International Board on Books for Young People. She also received the 1961 Danish Critics Prize for Literature and the Danish Ministry of Culture's children's book prize in 1968. In 1953, she married Arne Bødker, with whom she had two biological and two adopted children. After they divorced, she remarried to Hans Nissen Eskelund Wieden. In 1997, she published a memoir entitled Farmors øre. She was awarded the Grand Prize of the Danish Academy in 1998 for her body of work.