Edwards Bello was born in Valparaíso, one of the most important ports in Chile. His family, the Edwards, is still one of the most influential in the country. Joaquín studied at The Mackay School and later at the Liceo Eduardo de la Barra. To complete his education, his family decided in 1904 to send him to Europe. His first novel, El inútil (The Useless One would be the translation), generated such reactions in Santiago that he emigrated to Brazil for some time. The main character was Eduardo Briset Lacerda, a rich young man with social conscience, like Edwards.