Myra Cohn Livingston was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on August 17, 1926. Her family moved to California when she was 12 years old. She studied the French horn from age 12 to age 20, becoming so good that the Los Angeles Philharmonic invited her to join them when she was 16 years old. She had other plans. She knew she wanted to write.
She attended Sarah Lawrence College, where she was the editor for the college newspaper and co-editor of the literary magazine. In 1946, her first poem, “Whispers,” was published in Story Parade magazine.
Her first book-length manuscript, Whispers and Other Poems, was published by Margaret K. McElderry at Harcourt Brace in 1958. She was married to Richard Livingston, a CPA, who nevertheless wrote a book for children, The Hunkendunkens. Her three children are all engaged in the arts in one fashion or another.
In 1961, Mrs. Livingston helped to found a society called the Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People, advocating an increased awareness of children’s literature and promoting standards of excellence. Today, this Council gives a Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry each year. Myra Cohn Livingston died in 1996.