Renata Viganò published her first collection of poetry, Ginestra in Fiore (Broom in Bloom), at age 13. She dreamed of becoming a physician, but family financial problems led her to quit high school and go to work. She continued to create poems and short stories, and also wrote for newspapers and periodicals. She married and became a hospital nurse. Near the end of World War II, she and her husband Antonio Meluschi participated in the Italian partisan movement in Bologna. In 1949, she achieved fame with her novel L'Agnese Va a Morire, inspired by the Resistance, which won the Viareggio Prize and was adapted as a film. She wrote several more books, including two more about the war.