Janis Kearney is the only person to have held the title of U.S. Presidential Diarist. In 1995 she was appointed to that position by President Bill Clinton.
After graduating from the University of Arkansas, she was hired by the State of Arkansas as a program manager. Nine years later, she became managing editor for the Arkansas State Press. She later purchased it from owner Daisy Bates.
In 1992, she took a leave from the paper to work on the Clinton presidential campaign. Following the election, she worked in the transition office, the White House, and the U.S. Small Business Administration until her appointment as Presidential Diarist.
In 2001, she moved to Chicago and started working on a book, while also having fellowships at Harvard and DePaul. In 2004, she founded Writing Our World Press and published her first book, Cotton Field of Dreams. Her Clinton biography, Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton-From Hope to Harlem was published in 2006. Since then she has also published a novel, a biography of Daisy Bates, and the second part of her memoirs.
She is also active in the Celebrate! Maya Project. This program seeks to honor and promote the inclusive literacy, creativity, and social consciousness of the life and work of artist and activist Maya Angelou.