Elías Snæland Jónsson was born in Bjarnarfjörður in Strandasýsla on January 8, 1943. He studied in Sörmarka in Norway after finishing his education in Iceland, and then became a journalist for the Sunmöre Arbeideravis in Aalesund in 1963. He moved back to Iceland, and became a journalist for the newspapers Vísir and Tíminn. Elías also edited the journal Ný þjóðmál from 1994- 1996, the daily Tíminn from 1981 – 1984, was co-editor of DV newspaper 1984 – 1997 and the editor of Dagur newspaper from 1997 – 2001.
Elías Snæland first sent forward the short story "Hvernig skyldi það vera?" (I Wonder How it is) which was published in 1984 in the book Vertu ekki með svona blá augu (Stop Having Such Blue Eyes), a collection of short stories for teenagers. He has written plays, scripts for documentaries, non-fiction books and a novel, as well as a number of books for children and young people. His play, Fjörbrot fuglanna, was staged by Theater Junge Generation in Dresden, Germany in 1999. Elías Snæland received the Icelandic Children's Book Award for his book Brak og brestir (Deep in the Glacier) in 1993, and his book Návígi á hvalaslóð (Giants of the Ocean) from 1998 was on the IBBY honour list for 2000 – 2002.
Elías Snæland Jónsson lives in Kópavogur. He is married to Anna Kristín Brynjúlfsdóttir, writer and Latin teacher. They have three grown sons.