Steven J. Niven

STEVEN J. NIVEN has been a writer and editor at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research (previously the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute) since 2002. He is executive editor of three award winning print biographical dictionaries of Africa and the African diaspora, published by Oxford University Press. The African American National Biography (Gates and Higginbotham, 2008; 2013), was selected as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, Library Journal Best Reference work, and awarded Booklist Editors’ Choice— Top of the List in 2008. The Dictionary of African Biography (Akyeampong and Gates, 2011) was selected as Library Journal Best Reference Award, General Reference, in 2011. The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography (Gates and Knight, 2016) was named an Outstanding Reference Source for 2017 by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), of the American Library Association (ALA).

He is the author of Barack Obama: A Pocket Biography of Our 44th President (OUP: 2009) and over 150 biographies and articles for the African American Studies Center. He has also written for TheRoot.Com,, the Oxford University Press Blog (, Southern Cultures, and the North Carolina Literary Review, among other publications.