Renée Erdős was born Regina Ehrental to a large Jewish family in rural Érseklél, Hungary (present-day Romania). A Benedictine monk in the priory at Győr took notice of her intelligence and tutored her in French, German, and literature. At age 15, she moved to Budapest to become an actress, but soon abandoned this career. In 1899, she began publishing her poetry and novels, and came to be regarded as one of the boldest and most popular writers of the period. She also worked as a foreign correspondent for a Hungarian newspaper in Vienna, Rome, and Florence. She was the first woman in Hungary to make a living as an independent writer. She had a long, scandalous love affair with Sándor Bródy, a famous writer and journalist who was married and 16 years her senior. After their breakup, she spent some time in a monastery in Italy, and subsequently converted to the Roman Catholic faith. In 1913, she married Lajos Fülep, an art historian, with whom she had two daughters before divorcing five years later. In 1926, she married again to a much younger man, and moved to a villa in Rákoshegy. In the late 1930s, despite her Catholic faith, she was banned from publishing by the fascist government of Hungary. During the Nazi Occupation in World War II, she survived by hiding in a hospital. In the course of her career, she published about 70 volumes, many of them bestsellers.