Ragnvald Skrede was born in Vågå in Oppland county, Norway. Skrede was the youngest seven children. He was a student at Elverum teacher school (1921–24). In 1928, he was hired as a teacher and sexton in Rauland, in Telemark. He studied at the University of Oslo (1928–1934). In 1934, He became a teacher in Vågå. In the postwar years, Skrede worked as a journalist and literary critic for Verdens Gang and Dagbladet and a theater critic for Bondebladet.
Skrede was 45 years old when he began his writing in 1949. As a poet, he often used the classic and permanent stanza forms. His authorship was humanistic and characterized by historic knowledge. Ragnvald Skrede was a Norwegian member of the jury for the Nordic Council's Literature Prize from 1969. He was chairman for literary advice of the Norwegian Novelist Association (Den norske forfattarforening) 1970-72. He received Dobloug Prize for Literature in 1967 and the Norwegian Cultural Council Award in 1969.