Elmer Alindugan Ordoñez was born on December 15, 1929 in Juban, Sorsogon. He obtained his BA and MA in English from the University of the Philippines, his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1963, and post doctoral studies from Oxford University-London in 1966. He has been professor of English, associate for literary criticism at the UP Creative Writing Center, and chairperson for projects of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Ordoñez edited Introduction to Literature (1974) and Festschriften: Leopoldo Y. Yabes: A Memorial Volume (1985). He has also published a number of books, including Early Joseph Conrad (1969) and The Other View: Notes on Philippine Writing and Culture (1989).