Karen Joy Fowler Biography
Karen Joy Fowler was born in February 1950 in Bloomington, Indiana where her
father was a professor of psychology. She says "Bloomington lives in my
mind as a sort of Oz-like place where I caught fireflies and watched lightning
and ran around. None of the yards were fenced, so we could play games that
covered massive amounts of territory." When she was 11 her family moved to
Palo Alto, California.
She majored in political science at the University of California at Berkeley and had
her first baby at twenty-three during the last year of her master's program (at
the University of Davis). After completing her master degree she entered what
she refers to as her 'child-rearing years' - until the age of 30 when she
started to feel restless and took a dance class to reclaim some space for
herself - as she says 'it was only after I realized that I wasn't going to make
it as a dancer that I took a creative writing class in Davis."
She started to publish science fiction stories and made herself a name in the
sci-fi community with the publication of Artificial Things (short stories). This
was followed by the novels Sarah Canary and The Sweetheart Season.
In 1991, with sci-fi writer Pat Murphy, she created the James Tiptree Jr
Memorial Award which, to quote Fowler, 'is presented annually to a short story
or novel that explores or expands our understanding of gender...both to honor
Alice Sheldon [the science fiction author who used the pen name James Tiptree]
and to remind the field of its own importance in the continual struggle to
re-imagine more livable sexual roles for ourselves.'
Fowler and her husband, who have two grown children, live in Davis and Santa Cruz, California.
Bibliography of Novels
Peripheral Vision (1986)
The War of the Roses (1991)
Sarah Canary (1991)
The Sweetheart Season (1996)
Sister Noon (2001)
The Jane Austen Book Club (2004)
Wit's End (2008)
This biography was last updated on 08/12/2011.
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