Gwen Harwood (1920–1995), one of the most celebrated voices in modern Australian poetry, was born in 1920 in Brisbane, where she trained as a pianist and organist. After her marriage in 1945 she moved to Hobart, where she lived until her death in 1995. Although she published some poetry in the 1940s and early 1950s, she did not become well known until after the publication of her first book in 1963. Acclaim grew with the appearance of each new volume, and she was awarded a string of literary prizes. Gwen Harwood became an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1989, and was awarded several honorary doctorates.

She was an extraordinarily gifted letter writer; indeed some readers of her poetry have come to it because of their enjoyment of Blessed City, edited by Alison Hoddinott (1990). In 2001 UQP published A Steady Stream of Correspondence: Selected Letters of Gwen Harwood 1943–1995, edited by Gregory Kratzmann.