Martha Sandwall was born in Småland, a poor area in southern Sweden, and began writing at a young age. She submitted her work to a newspaper at age 12, and got her first novel published four years later. As a teenager, she worked as a maid for a Swedish family in Poland for a year, and another year for a Swedish family in France. She returned to Sweden at age 21. She married Lars-Erik Bergström, an archaeologist eight years her senior, and helped support the family with various office jobs while writing short stories in her spare time. In 1945, Martha Sandwall-Bergstrom won first prize in a children's book competition with Kulla-Gulla, a novel based on her working class background and childhood experiences. The book became a hit among readers and is now considered a classic. In 1953, the family moved to a farm near Malaga, Spain, where they lived for the next 30 years. She continued to write books for children and young adults, particularly for girls, and is best known for the series of books on Kulla-Gulla, which has been translated into many languages. The books were adapted for film in 1956 and as a television series in 1985. In English they are known as the Goldie books.