Items from across the Triad and beyond


Award-Winning biographer Penelope Niven died at the age of 75 the night of August 28 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Niven wrote biographies on Carl Sandburg, Edward Steichen and Thornton Wilder. She was a recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature and won several other awards. She was also an editor for several publications and taught at Salem College for 12 years as a writer-in-residence.

Kevin Watson, editor-in-chief of local publisher Press 53, was a student of Niven at Salem from 1999 to 2004. He had taken 25 years off between high school and college and wanted to beef up his writing ability.

“When I really got into writing and got published and started to win an award here and there, I decided I really need to go to college to learn the language of writing. was really fortunate to have her as an instructor.”

He said she was one of the nicest and most caring people he had met.

“I complained to her one time that I thought she was too nice,” he said. “I thought she needed to be harder on some of the writing students with her critique and criticism and all that. She just smiled and said I don’t think anybody can be too nice Watson said Niven’s main message to her students was to pick something you love and do it well.

“You could tell that she enjoyed seeing her students express themselves, and it was her job to give the students insights on how to express themselves,” he said.

Watson recounted a visit to Connemara, Carl Sandburg’s home in Flat Rock, in which Niven gave a tour. He remembered being struck by the number of books lining the halls and the white flags left in them, which marked the place where Sandburg had read to in each one.

“When we got back we had to write a paper on the trip, so I wrote what I thought was a really good piece, it kind of mimicked a couple paragraphs from a Robert Morgan novel where a young girl is running downhill and there’s leaves here and leaves there and it just kept repeating the word leaves, and the word echoed,” he said. “It was just beautiful. And so I tried doing that with the flags here and the flags in the book and the flags on the stairs, and all that stuff. So Penny handed my paper back to me and said I think maybe you might have overused the word flag. And I said well I’m trying to capture what Robert Morgan did in his novel with leaves. And she just smiled and said, maybe we should leave that device to Robert Morgan.”

It was that way of delivering criticism in a gentle manner that Watson said Niven lived her life.


New York, Paris, Milan and Greensboro. The Gate City will make its mark on this year’s Mercedes-Benz fashion week in New York City when three stylists from Local Honey will transform models before they hit the runway.

Owner Jay Bulluck will travel to the Big Apple with stylists Lauren Ladd and Cat Brockway for fashion’s Academy Awards, which will begin on September 4 this year.

“We’re ready to rock the runway with Local Honey’s innovative hair designs,” says Jay Bulluck. “It’s an honor to work at Fashion Week and to represent the state of North Carolina at the center of the world’s biggest style event. We also are pleased to be paired with Original Mineral and their philosophy of providing natural hair products that deliver real benefits.”

Local Honey will be working with Australia’s Original Minerals in order to sculpt and style the models.

Original Mineral is a professional haircare line with pure ingredients that is currently available at the Local Honey salon.

The salon’s high-end style should pair nicely with the cutting-edge creativity of New York Fashion Week. The styles seen on the catwalks of New York are often later adopted by celebrities on the red carpet, and hair is far from an afterthought. From blunt bangs to romantic braids, hair at New York Fashion week is a statement.

Last year there were a lot of variations of the ponytail and the slicked back chignon. The deep side part also saw a bit of a comeback. In previous years designers have favored top knot buns so high that the models started to resemble Pebbles Flintstone.

Now stylists from Local Honey are also getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see what it’s like behind the scene at the biggest fashion event of the year, and to be trendsetters for the styles we can expect to see in 2015. !