Poet, essayist, and translator, author of numerous books for children. She was born in 1921 in Lublin. During World War II, she studied Polish philology and Romance studies; she was also a liaison officer of the Home Army. Shortly after the war, she received a scholarship, thanks to which she went to France. In the years 1970-1974, she lived in the United States together with her husband, Artur Międzyrzecki. She participated in the International Writing Program for writers organised by the University of Iowa. Later, she was an academic teacher at several American and Canadian universities. She was a signatory to Memoriał 101 [Memorandum 101]; she belonged to “Solidarity”.
She debuted in 1956 with a volume of poetry entitled Pożegnanie [Farewell]. From among over a dozen collections of poems, as many as four were nominated for the Nike Literary Award: Nie ma odpowiedzi [There Is No Answer; 2001], Błyski [Flashes; 2002], Bez pożegnania [Without a Goodbye; 2004], and Jasne niejasne [Clear Unclear; 2010]. She published two monographs: Apollinaire (1962), translated into French and Russian, among others, and Gérard de Nerval (1972). She also published several volumes of memoirs and personal notes. Recently, a collection entitled Wspólna obecność. Korespondencja Julii Hartwig i Artura Międzyrzeckiego z Anną i Jerzym Turowiczami [Shared Presence. The Correspondence of Julia Hartwig and Artur Międzyrzecki with Anna and Jerzy Turowicz; 2012] was published.
She translated the works of many French- and English-speaking poets, including Guillaume Apollinaire, Blaise Cendrars, Max Jacob, Sylvia Plath, William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder. Together with her husband, she co-edited a selection of poems entitled Opiewam nowoczesnego człowieka. Antologia poezji amerykańskiej [I Eulogise the Modern Man. An Anthology of American Poetry; 1992]; on her own, she also edited an anthology of American female poets, Dzikie brzoskwinie [Wild Peaches; 2003].
Hartwig has received numerous literary awards and distinctions. She received the Polish PEN Club Award twice, for her translation work (1979), and her poetic oeuvre (1997). For her translations, she was also honoured with the French Prix de Traduction (1978) and the American Thornton Wilder Prize (1986). In 2002, she received the Award of the Minister of Culture for lifetime achievement; a year later, she was also awarded the Great Award of the Culture Foundation for her collections: Nie ma odpowiedzi, Wiersze amerykańskie [American Poems], and Błyski. Hartwig was decorated with the Officer’s Cross (1997), the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis (2005), and the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2011).
She is a member of the Polish Writers’ Association and the Polish PEN Club. She lives in Warsaw.