Friða Á. Sigurðardóttir grew up in Hornstrandir and later Reykjavík. She was the second youngest child of thirteen and sister of the writer Jakobina Sigurðardóttir. She graduated in literature at the University of Iceland in 1979 and made her debut with the short story collection Þetta er ekkert alvarlegt, 1980, which, like her subsequent collection Við gluggann (SS), 1984, is about characters who are lonely and alienated. She wrote in a realist, subdued style.
Her novel Sólin og skugginn, 1981, recounted the story of an ill woman's struggle against a hostile hospital system and against doctors who despise women. Her multi-protagonist novel Eins og hafið, 1986, described in lyrical passages life in a fishing village on the coast.
Her actual breakthrough came with the novel Meðan nóttin líður, 1990, which won the Nordic Council's Literature Prize in 1992. It is about a career woman, Nina, who sits at her mother's deathbed for three nights and reflects on her life. She also wrote Í luktum heimi, 1994, a psychological thriller with a male protagonist.