Bio

karen-author-200I am the author of the story collection Refund, published by Counterpoint Press in 2015; it was a Finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction; it was also on the shortlist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize, and the longlist for the Story Prize. It was also a Los Angeles Times bestseller. I’m also the author of the novels Like Normal People, (Houghton Mifflin) which was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and A Town of Empty Rooms (Counterpoint Press). 

My short fiction has appeared in magazines including The New Yorker, Granta, Ploughshares, Zoetrope, Story, Narrative, The Harvard Review, Guernica, and The Iowa Review. My stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best and have won two Pushcart prizes. Two of my stories have been read in the Selected Shorts program on NPR. I’ve received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rona Jaffe foundation.

I’m also the co-editor of the nonfiction anthology Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion.

I’m currently a Visiting Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University. I’ve also taught creative writing at Tunghai University in Taiwan, the MFA programs at Warren Wilson College, Antioch Los Angeles, Chatham University, the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and at the Iowa Summer Writer’s Festival.

I grew up in Los Angeles, and have also lived in New York and Iowa City, where I went to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. My hobbies include cooking (messily) and running (slowly). When I’m feeling brave, I play cello with our unnamed but enthusiastic trio at our local synagogue.

Here are some interviews I have done about my work:

A self-interview for Thenervousbreakdown.com: Read it here.

With Pam Kelley for her Reading Life column at The Charlotte News and Observer. Read it here.

With David Ulin for the Los Angeles Times column, “The Reading Life.” Read it here. 

With Susan Wingate, host of the talk show “Dialogue Between the Lines.” You can listen to the interview here.

With Emily Kramer of the website Litwrap here.

With Barbara Bush at the radio station WHQR here.

With Gwenyfar Rohler of Wilmington magazine here. 

With Robert Anthony Siegel for Bookforum here.

With Kathy Adelaide for her blog Mirabele Dictu here.

With Jon Winokur for his website, Advice for Writers, here.

With Deborah Kalb, for Book Q & As with Deborah Kalb, here.

With Mallory Hellman for The Little Village magazine here.

For Shelf Unbound magazine here.

With Nancy Spiller for the Los Angeles Review of Books here.

With Jonathan Russell Clark for Lithub here.

With Courtney Maum for the National Book Foundation site here.

With Jeffrey Brown at the Miami Book Fair for the PBS show Book View Now here.

With Barbara Demarco Barrett for her Writers on Writing series here.

I read part of “Refund” at Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City; the video for “Live From Prairie Lights” is here.

Dionne Irving writes about my story “Eternal Love” for the Missouri Review’s celebration of National Short Story month. You can read her post here