Carmen Laforet was born in Barcelona, Spain, and grew up in Las Palmas on the Canary Islands. At age 18, following the death of her mother, she returned to the mainland to study philosophy at the University of Barcelona and then law at the University of Madrid. During her second year in Madrid, she withdrew from classes to devote herself to writing. Her first novel, Nada (Nothing), published in 1945 when she was 22, made her the first woman to win the Premi Nadal, and is today considered a classic of 20th century Spanish literature. In 1946, she married Manuel Gonzalez Cerezales, with whom she had several children. In 1952 she published La isla y los demonios (The Island and the Demons), which was semi-autobiographical. Other works included La mujer nueva (The New Woman, 1955), which received the Menorca Prize in 1955 and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize in 1956; and Gran Canaria (Grand Canary, 1961), about the island on which she spent her childhood. Her friendship with writer Ramón J. Sender was revealed in a series of letters published in 2003 entitled Puedo contar contigo.