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Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger is a visual artist and writer who has published six books, including the novels The Time Traveler’s Wife (2004) and Her Fearful Symmetry (2009). She helped to found the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, and she is a Professor in the Fiction Department of Columbia College. Her current projects include a ballet, Raven Girl, choreographed by Wayne McGregor for the Royal Opera House Ballet. Her VQR essay is excerpted from Awake in the Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger (powerHouse Books, 2013), which accompanies her 239-​piece exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, from June to November 2013.


Spring​ (2004). Artist’s book, lithographs on handmade cotton and abaca paper, carbon and antique silver pigment, colored pencils, and acrylic paint. 6 x 4" (book); 6 x 8" (lithographs). Collection of Audrey Niffenegger, Chicago. Collaboration with Marilyn Sward.

Awake in the Dream World

Summer 2013 | Essays

So much of what forms us is accidental, ephemeral-​seeming. When I was young I knew I wanted to be an artist. Sometimes I wanted to be a writer, too, and make books; sometimes I wanted to be a singer.