Mihail Sadoveanu was a Romanian novelist, short story writer, journalist and political figure, who twice served as acting head of state for the communist republic (1947–1948 and 1958). He is the most prolific novelist in Romanian literature and one of the most accomplished. All his major work, however, was written before the political changes in Romania following World War II. Although Sadoveanu remained a productive author after the war, like many other writers in communist countries, he had to adjust his aesthetic to meet the demands of the communist regime, and he wrote little of artistic value between 1945 and his death in 1961.

Sadoveanu was born on 5 November 1880 in Pascani, a small town in Moldavia, to Alexandru and Profira (Ursachi) Sadoveanu.

In Anii de Ucenicie (Years of Apprenticeship, 1944) Sadoveanu recalled his special affection for his mother, who was a gifted storyteller. Her death in 1895, when she was only thirty-four, deeply disturbed Sadoveanu. In 1900, after graduating from high school, he decided to study law in Bucharest, but he soon lost enthusiasm and started missing classes. Instead, he spent most of his time writing novels and plays.

In 1901 Sadoveanu went to live in Falticeni and married Ecaterina Bâlu. Eventually the father of eleven children, Sadoveanu enjoyed a stable and quiet family life that was no doubt a positive influence on his writing.