Penny Randell – Author bio
From an early age, Penny Randell has always enjoyed a good story, whether telling it herself or conducting an interview. Her award-winning 2005 4-part radio series, The War in Northern Uganda was the result of a visit to the internationally displaced persons (IDP) camps near Gulu and the culmination of years of living in Kampala as a cultural researcher, radio personality and journalist and traveling throughout eastern, central and southern Africa with her son Peyton. Her recounting of their African exploits never fails to elicit an incredulous response, usually accompanied by “You’ve got a big story!” or words to that effect. Such responses inspired the compilation of adventures into Becoming African: A Mother’s Gift to a Troubled Son. Since traveling to Uganda with her son in 1997 to live there for 2 ½ years, they have returned five times, visiting most of the countries of central, eastern and southern Africa, exploring eastern Europe and much of the Middle East as well.
Her humanitarian efforts in Uganda revolve around women and the family unit, providing encouragement, advice and support through her Skylor Self-Help Foundation, established in 2006. Originally hired as a primary school teacher and health advisor because of her biology degree, she became a writer and presenter for the morning show of Kampala’s most popular radio station, Capital FM drawing upon her years of experience as a SAG actor and her extensive commercial radio and TV work. She has cultivated relationships at all levels of Ugandan society, from high-ranking government officials to prominent business owners, shopkeepers, middle-class employees, laborers and con-men of all shapes, sizes and religious affiliations and people of the bush. Penny pursued a master’s in biology along with journalism courses and established the first Sunshine Week conference after completing her biology degree at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has written humorous articles for an Alaska travel publication and completed the definitive Alaskan Mammal Key while at the university. She is active in her church and often called upon to speak in Colorado and Alaska.