Karin Valborg Ek grew up in a doctor’s family in Stockholm and looked after her mother, who died of cancer at a young age. She herself suffered the same fate. After a brief spell as a teacher, she married Sverker Ek in 1909, who taught literature at the University of Gothenburg. Of their four children, one of whom died at eight weeks, Anders Ek became a well-known character actor.
In 1904, the year of her mother’s death, her debut work, Dikter, was published. It was followed in 1914 by Den kostbara hvilan, which consists of poems written in a clear form about love and sorrow. Her novel Gränsen of 1918 is based on a memory of unhappy, young love. Död och liv (P) of 1925 is an account of her experience of approaching death. There is evidence of Karin Ek's love for the author Pär Lagerkvist in the 1920s in her writing. She edited the anthology Ur svenska dikten in three volumes, which was published in 1921, and also published Fredmansgestalten, 1915, an analysis of Bellman’s poetry.