Elsa Heporauta was born in Pumala. She qualified as a teacher in Denmark and in 1935 helped to found the women's organisation Kalevalaiset Naiset (Kalevala women).
Her debut work, the novel Maa vai taivas, was published in 1926. Her prose often deals with deviant, ecstatic women, incest, and marital problems. Her main work is an autobiographical three-part novel of development, Ursula Keivaara, published in 1929-1930.