Log In

Jean Marie Auel Edit Profile

novelist , writer

Jean Marie Auel is an American writer.


Auel, Jean Marie was born on February 18, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Daughter of Neil Solomon and Martha Amelia (Wirtanen) Untinen.


Master of Business Administration, University Portland, 1976. Doctor of Letters (honorary), University Portland, 1984. HHD (honorary), University Maine, 1986.

Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary), Mount Vernon College, 1986. HHD (honorary), Pacific University, 1995.


She is best known for her Earth's Children books, a series of novels set in prehistoric Europe that explores interactions of Cro-Magnon people with Neanderthals. As of 2010 her books have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. She is of Finnish descent, the second of five children of Neil Solomon Untinen, a housepainter, and Martha (née Wirtanen) Untinen.

While a student, she joined Mensa, and worked at Tektronix, as a clerk (1965–1966), a circuit board designer (1966–1973), technical writer (1973–1974), and a cr manager (1974–1976). She received honorary degrees from her alma mater, as well as the University of Maine and the Mount Vernon College for Women. In 1977, Auel began extensive library research of the Ice Age for her first book.

She joined a survival class to learn how to construct an ice cave, and learned primitive methods of making fire, tanning leather, and knapping stone from the aboriginal skills expert Jim Riggs. The Clan of the Cave Bear was nominated for numerous literary awards, including an American Booksellers Association nomination for best first novel. It was also later adapted into a screenplay for the film of the same name.

After the sales success of her first book, Auel has been able to travel to the sites of prehistoric ruins and relics, and also to meet many of the experts with whom she had been corresponding. Her research has taken her across Europe from France to Ukraine, including most of what Marija Gimbutas called Old Europe. In 1986 she attended and co-sponsored a conference on modern human origins at the School of American Research, Santa Fe.

In October 2008, Auel was named an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture and Communication.



Board directors Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 1993-1996. Honorary campaign chair Oregon Council for Humanities, 1991. Speaker, fund raiser various charitable and educational organizations.

Member Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists association, Authors Guild, Willamette Writers (life), Oregon Writers Colony (charter member), International Women's Forum (board directors 1985-1993), Mensa (honorary vice president since 1990).


  • Other Interests

    Avocation: traveling.


Married Ray Bernard Auel, March 19, 1954. Children: RaeAnn Marie, Karen Jean, Lenore Jerica, Kendall Poul, Marshall Philip.

Neil Solomon Untinen

Martha Amelia (Wirtanen) Untinen

Ray Bernard Auel

RaeAnn Marie Auel

Karen Jean Auel

Lenore Jerica Auel

Kendall Poul Auel

Marshall Philip Auel