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Born to the organist manufacturer Peter Forsberg and Katarina Maria Grip. She was educated in both French and German.
She debuted as a poet in the 1780s, when she aroused attention by some poems, published in the literary papers of the day. Her breakthrough came by the publication of Erotiska sånger (Erotic songs) in 1799. Her poetry was described as very affected by the Gustavian age. Her collected work was published by Carl Julius Lénström in 1840. This was a success, and was reprinted many times. The same year, she was awarded the Grand gold medal of the Royal Swedish Academy. Widstrom was very well known and admired by her contemporaries and artists, such as Carl Gustaf af Leopold, Bengt Lidner, Thomas Thorild and Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom.
Ulrika Widström is portrayed in the novel Pottungen (Chamber pot child) by Anna Laestadius Larsson from 2014, where she, alongside Ulrika Pasch, Anna Maria Lenngren, Jeanna von Lantingshausen, Marianne Ehrenström and Sophie von Fersen, becomes a member in a Blue Stockings Society organized by Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp.