Vera Panova began writing at an early age and having her work published in newspapers and other periodicals. Her father died when she was five years old, and after she had studied for a while at a private gymnasium, her family did not have enough money to send her to college. In 1925, she married Arseny Staroselsky; the couple divorced two years later. In the 1930s, she began writing plays. Her second husband, Pravda journalist Boris Vakhtin, was arrested in 1935 and died in the labor camps (Gulag). Vera and her daughter were put in a concentration camp by the invading Germans during World War II, but managed to escape. After the war she became a famous writer, won literary prizes, and helped many younger writers. She was married again in 1946 to science fiction writer David Yakovlevich Ryvkin (pen name David Dar) and moved back to Leningrad. Forced by the government to produce a work concerning the military hospital train provided by the state, she was inspired to write her first full-length novel, The Train (1946), for which she received the Stalin Prize. Her work The Seasons (1953) celebrated the gradual thawing of control over contemporary Russian literature from the Stalinist era. Her son, also named Boris Vakhtin, became a dissendent Russian writer.