Anja Vammelvuo grew up in a business family in Riihimäki in southern Finland, took the upper school leaving examination in 1941, and later worked at a publishing house and as a literary critic. In 1946 she married the radical left-wing author Jarno Pennanen and had a child.
Her debut work was the poetry collection Auringon tytär, 1943. Her other works are Muottiin tuntemattomaan, 1946, and Valkoinen varies, 1962. With her depictions of family relations and women's lives in her sensual, highly emotional poetry and short story collections, she helped to give post-war literature a new narrative and form.