Magdalena Samozwaniec was the pen name of Magdalena Starzewska, née Kossak, born in Krakow, Poland to a family of artists. Her father Wojciech Kossak and grandfather Juliusz Kossak were both well-known painters. Her older sister Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska became a famous poet and playwright. Their childhood home was a meeting place for Polish artists and intellectuals, such as Henryk Sienkiewicz and Jan Paderewski. She was educated at home and also attended Maria Niedzielska's Fine Arts School for Women. learning fluent German, English and French, In 1921, she married Jan Starzewskiego, a lawyer and diplomat, with whom she had a daughter. She made her literary debut in 1922 with the satirical novel Purnonsensową (At the Mouth of Sin), the first of about 40 works published under her pseudonym. She also wrote for leading Polish periodicals, and translated novels from German and Romanian. In 1945, she married her second husband, Sigismund Niewidowskim, and moved to Warsaw. She published a memoir, Maria and Magdalena, in 1956.