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Name

Karen Kao

Location

Amsterdam

Bio

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.”

Karen is the winner of the 2022 Kenyon Review Short Nonfiction Contest and a nominee for the Pushcart Prize, VERA, and Best of the Net. Her debut novel, The Dancing Girl and the Turtle (Linen Press 2017) is the first of a quartet of historical novels set in Shanghai. Karen’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Tahoma Literary Review, an Asian short story anthology A Tapestry of Colours, The Common, The Shanghai Literary Review, among others.

With authors Lan Samantha Chang and Yiyun Li and the University of British Columbia, Karen has studied novel-writing. For creative nonfiction, Karen has worked or will work with Joanna Penn Cooper and Dinty W. Moore.

You can read more about Karen and her work on her website.

What Karen's students say

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