Gunnel Beckman was born in Falköping and described her upbringing among the middle classes in her autobiographical novel Oskuld, 1978. After graduating from Lund University, she worked as a journalist. She married in 1933, but lost her husband in 1984.
Gunnel Beckman, whose debut novel for children and teenagers Medan katten var borta was published in 1960, started off as an idyllist and went on to become a realist young fiction writer focusing on young women’s search for identity. The most powerful of her works is her monological novel Tillträde till festen, 1969, in first-person narrative about a nineteen-year-old cancer patient. In her novels Tre veckor över tiden, 1973, and Våren då allting hände, 1974, she deals with the subjects of sexuality, abortion, and academic ambition.