Penelope Rowe graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1967 and a Master of Criminology in 2004. She has worked as a teacher in secondary schools and adult education, a journalist, Opera House guide, sales representative, editor, and writer/presenter for ABC radio and SBS television. When Rowe published her autobiography in 2005, she contextualised its content stating that The Best of Times, The Worst of Times was not intended to be her 'life story' but rather, the story of her 'experience with bipolar illness'. Living with manic depression for more than forty-five years, as an author Rowe has drawn inspiration from her struggle with this 'unpredictable enemy'. For an example of how this struggle has been reflected in Rowe's writing, see the novels, Blood Songs(1997) and Dance for the Ducks (1976).