Elena Quiroga grew up on her father's estate in Barco de Valdeorras, Ourense, absorbing the local culture of the Galicia region. In 1950 she became famous with the publication of her second novel, Viente del norte, which won the prestigious Premio Nadal. That same year, she married Dalmiro de la Válgoma, an historian. Many of her works were influenced by her own experiences during the Spanish Civil War and the rise to power of Generalissimo Franco. She was named a member of the Spanish Royal Academy in 1984.