Ellen Francke was born and grew up in Oslo and trained as a teacher and social worker. She wrote children’s and teenage literature, radio plays, and poems. Often, she wrote about physical experiences, such as in Det dobbelte kyss (P), 1985, in which she wrote about having a mastectomy as a result of cancer. Critics described her book Glass (N), 1990, depicting the last hours of a woman named Inge before she commits suicide, as “painfully strong”. She was the co-author of Med barn i magen, 1979, a book about pregnancy and birth.
In 1984 she was awarded a prize for the best children’s and teenage book by the Ministry of Culture and Science. She was married and had four children. Her debut work, published in 1978, was Ingen har bruk for oss (P).