All posts by Karen Kao

Since 2011, Karen, a former attorney, has had the good fortune to write full-time from her home in Amsterdam. "I work all day with the characters I’ve created and learned to love. If I get lucky, they sit up and tell me their stories. I work with language – no longer to convince or badger or corner – but to paint a picture." Her stories have been published in Jabberwock Review and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and her novel The Dancing Girl and the Turtle was published by Linen Press in 2017. It's the first in a planned quartet of historical novels set in Shanghai. She's studied with authors Lan Samantha Chang and Yiyun Li. You can read more about her and her work on her blog.

What Karen's students say


My Daily Practice

Every term, my students ask: how do you develop a writing practice? If you’re taking one of our core writing …Read More

Profile PhotoKaren Kao1 December 2020

How to write historical fiction

In this post, teacher Karen Kao talks about what historical fiction is, the importance of research and how to weave …Read More

Profile PhotoKaren Kao7 April 2020

If you want to get published…

Instructor and novelist Karen Kao shares her own experiences and advice on publishing in literary magazines. Last year, I took …Read More

Profile PhotoKaren Kao24 July 2019

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