"I want my epitaph to testify that I have been a loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend; and I have taught, written, and lived with joy."
— Penelope Niven
About Penelope

Penelope Niven is the critically acclaimed author of Carl Sandburg: A Biography, Steichen: A Biography, and, most recently, Thornton Wilder: A Life. She and James Earl Jones co-authored Voices and Silences, praised as a classic on acting, and she has written a memoir, Swimming Lessons. Carl Sandburg: Adventures of a Poet, her biography for children, was awarded an International Reading Association Prize "for exceptionally distinguished literature for children," one of six books honored among publications from 99 countries.

Penelope Niven has been awarded two honorary doctorates, three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Thornton Wilder Visiting Fellowship at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, among other honors. She received the North Carolina Award in Literature, the highest honor the state bestows on an author. During the past twenty-three years she has lectured across the United States and in Switzerland, Canada and Wales; has served as an editor for various publications; and has been a consultant for television films on Sandburg, Jones, and Steichen. She recently retired after twelve years as Writer- in-Residence at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where an international writing prize was named in her honor, along with the creative writing portfolio prize given each year to a Salem student.

Penelope Niven is the mother of award-winning author Jennifer Niven (The Ice Master; Ada BlackJack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic; Velva Jean Learns to Drive; Velva Jean Learns to Fly; Becoming Clementine and The Aqua-Net Diaries.). The Nivens enjoy doing mother-daughter writing programs and workshops together.