Ella Viola Hillbäck was the daughter of a textile worker from Mölndal. She took her lower secondary school examination and later became a critic and writer. Her debut work Hos en poet i kjol was published in 1939, and she married the banker Östen Sjöstrand in 1949, the year her sixth book was published; he had his debut as a poet that same year. The couple divorced in 1974.
In her twenty books, comprising both novels and poetry collections, she deals with human responsibility, with "being God in the world". Her novel Gullhöna, flyg! of 1955 makes no distinction between good and bad people, but between those who defend love and those who destroy it. Ella Hillbäck was attracted to Catholicism, and in her novel Swedenborgsvisioner, 1973, the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) elects an adoptive daughter from the present day to carry on his visions.