Audrey Niffenegger

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Audrey Niffenegger
Niffenegger in 2009
Niffenegger in 2009
Born (1963-06-13) June 13, 1963 (age 59)
South Haven, Michigan, U.S.
  • Novelist
  • artist
  • academic
SpouseEddie Campbell

Audrey Niffenegger (born June 13, 1963) is an American writer, artist and academic. Her debut novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, published in 2003, was a bestseller.


Audrey Niffenegger was born in 1963 in South Haven, Michigan. Then she moved to Evanston, Illinois and has since spent a majority of her life in Chicago.[1] Niffenegger started writing books when she was six years old. Niffenegger completed her undergraduate degree at the Art Institute of Chicago where she worked on becoming a visual artist.[1] After completing her undergraduate degree, she got her M.F.A at Northwestern University.[2] Niffenegger is currently a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, where she co-founded the Columbia College Chicago Center for the Book and Paper Arts.[3] Niffenegger is also the founding member of T3 or Text 3, an artist and writer's group which also performs and exhibits in Chicago. She is an alumna and board member of the Ragdale Foundation. She started making books herself by using processes such as intaglio and letterpress. She also wrote many novels which were produced on an offset press.[4]


Niffenegger's debut novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, was published in 2003 and was a bestseller.[5] A film adaptation was released in 2009. Niffenegger has no intention of watching the movie because she stated that the characters are only truly hers in the book, not in the movie.[6] Niffenegger originally conceptualized The Time Traveler's Wife as a graphic novel but realized that the time travel would be difficult to capture in visualizations.[7] In March 2009, Niffenegger sold her second novel, a literary ghost story called Her Fearful Symmetry, to Charles Scribner's Sons for an advance of $5 million.[8] The book was released on October 1, 2009[9] and is set in London's Highgate Cemetery where, during research for the book, Niffenegger acted as a tour guide.[10] Though not as huge a commercial juggernaut as The Time Traveler's Wife, this book generally garnered more positive critical reviews and cinched Niffenegger's reputation as a leading novelist of ideas and atmosphere.[11]

Niffenegger collaborated with Wayne McGregor on a balletic fable, Raven Girl (2013), performed at the Royal Opera House in London in 2013, 2015.[12]

In 2009, she started working on a novel called The Chinchilla Girl in Exile.[13]

As of 2022 it is announced that she is working on a sequel to The Time Traveler's Wife called The Other Husband [14][15]

Visual books[edit]

Niffenegger has degrees from the Art Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University.[3] As an undergraduate student at the Art Institute of Chicago, Niffenegger created her own book arts major combining etching, letterpress arts and bookbinding.[2] Her first project was called The Adventuress, which she self-described as "a novel In pictures". Niffenegger's second novel in pictures was titled The Three Incestuous Sisters which she created while completing her M.F.A. at Northwestern.[3] These two novels in pictures were subsequently published by Harry N. Abrams. The Three Incestuous Sisters was published in 2005 and tells the story of three unusual sisters who live in a seaside house; the book has been compared to the work of Edward Gorey. The Adventuress was released on September 1, 2006.

The 2004 short story "The Night Bookmobile" was serialized in 2008 in "Visual Novel" format in The Guardian.[16] "The Night Bookmobile" was published on October 1, 2010, by Jonathan Cape. Niffenegger intends "The Night Bookmobile" to be the first installment in a series titled "The Library". She is working on the second installment, called "Moths of the New World", about a stolen book.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Niffenegger is married to cartoonist Eddie Campbell. Niffenegger and Campbell collaborated on the visual novel Bizarre Romance to celebrate the Comics Unmasked exhibit at the British Library.[18] Niffenegger describes herself as "somewhere in the spectrum of agnosticism and atheism" and ascribes her disbelief to her Catholic background.[19]



Short stories[edit]

  • "Jakob Wywialowski and the Angels" (2004)
  • "Prudence: The Cautionary Tale of a Picky Eater" in the book Poisonous Plants at Table (2006)


Artist's books[edit]

Visual books:

  • The Adventuress (1985)[3]
  • The Spinster (1986)
  • Aberrant Abecedarium (1986)
  • The Murderer[22]
  • Spring (1994)[22]
  • The Three Incestuous Sisters (2005)[3]


  • Awake in the Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger (2013), with Susan Fisher Sterling and Mark Pascale


  • Ghostly : A Collection of Ghost Stories (Scribner, 2015) ISBN 9781501111198 An anthology selected and illustrated by Audrey Niffenegger. She also wrote the introduction.

Books Foreworded by Niffenegger[edit]

  • The Art of Neil Gaiman (with Hayley Campbell, Neil Gaiman)
  • Classic Penguin : Cover to Cover ( Paul Buckley)
  • Mr. Wrong : Real-Life Stories about the Men We Used to Love (Jacquelyn Mitchard, Harriet Brown, et al.)



  1. ^ a b "Audrey Niffenegger | Penguin Random House". Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Watson, Sasha (August 9, 2010). "Prose to Graphic Novel: Audrey Niffenegger & Diane Gabaldon Make the Leap". Publishers Weekly. 257 (32): 27. ProQuest 745196706.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Prose to Graphic Novel: Audrey Niffenegger & Diana Gabaldon Make the Leap". Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  4. ^ Wassserman, Krystyna (2011). The Book as Art; Artists's Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-56898-992-1.
  5. ^ Niffenegger, Audrey. "Ghostly". Penguin Books Ltd.
  6. ^ Holt, Emily (October 13, 2009). "Ghost Writer". WWD: Women's Wear Daily. Los Angeles. 198 (78): 4. ProQuest 231220480.
  7. ^ Cavna, Michael (March 29, 2018). "How a Best Selling Wife and Husband Enchant Readers in the Anthology Bizarre Romance". Washington Post.
  8. ^ Motoko Rich (March 11, 2009). "Audrey Niffenegger Receives $5 Million Advance for Second Novel". The New York Times. pp. C2. Retrieved July 9, 2013. Six years after the publication of her best-selling novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger sold a new manuscript for almost $5 million, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations. It is an especially significant sum at a time of retrenchment and economic uncertainty in the publishing world. After a fiercely contested auction, Scribner, a unit of Simon & Schuster, bought the rights to publish the new novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, in the United States this fall.
  9. ^ Allfree, Claire (October 1, 2009). "Niffenegger goes on a timely journey". Metro. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  10. ^ Niffenegger, Audrey (October 3, 2009). "Audrey Niffenegger on Highgate Cemetery". The Guardian. London. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  11. ^ Cokal, Susann (September 25, 2009). "Book Review | 'Her Fearful Symmetry,' by Audrey Niffenegger". The New York Times.
  12. ^ "Raven Girl — Productions — Royal Opera House".
  13. ^ Audrey Niffenegger. "Official Website FAQs". Archived from the original on May 7, 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2015. What are you writing now? I have started to work on a novel called The Chinchilla Girl in Exile. It is about a nine-year-old girl named Lizzie Varo who has hypertrichosis (she is covered with hair) and her desire to go to school (she's been home-schooled by her clever and amusing Aunt Mariella) and what happens when she does go to school (things get weird).
  14. ^ "Audrey Niffenegger".
  15. ^ "Author Stands Behind HBO's Controversial Adaptation of 'The Time Traveler's Wife'". Forbes.
  16. ^ "The Night Bookmobile | Books". The Guardian. London. July 21, 2008. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  17. ^ "Bookslut | An Interview with Audrey Niffenegger". Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  18. ^ "Bizarre Romance". Mr. Death's Ephemeral Pageant. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  19. ^ Soriano, César G. (October 5, 2009). "Niffenegger finds 'Symmetry' in death for second novel". USA Today. Retrieved October 7, 2009.
  20. ^ Niffenegger, Audrey (August 4, 2008). "31.05.2008: The Night Bookmobile". The Guardian. London.
  21. ^ Niffenegger, Audrey (April 29, 2014). "Novelists do comics: Audrey Niffenegger and Eddie Campbell". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  22. ^ a b Audrey Niffenegger – biography, plus book reviews & excerpts

External links[edit]