Elizabeth Smart was born 1913, Ottawa, Ontario, in a prominent family and she was educated at private schools in Canada and for a year at King's College, at the University of London.
While browsing in a London bookshop she found a book of poetry by George Barker, and fell in love with him through his poems. She met him and flew him and his wife to the United States, beginning an intense and tragic love affair
they never married, but she bore Barker four children. Their relationship provided the inspiration for her poetic prose novel By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept (1945) this novel, which is considered her masterpiece, was written while she lived in British Columbia.
during World War II she worked in Washington D.C., and for the Ministry of Defense in London. After the war she supported herself and her children with journalism and advertising work. In 1963 she became literary and associate editor of Queen magazine and in 1977 she published a poetry collection A Bonus, and her second novel The Assumption of Rogues and Rascals.
She later dropped out of the literary world to live quietly in Suffolk, England.