Karen Russell biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Karen Russell
Photo © Joanne Chan

Karen Russell

Karen Russell Biography

Karen Russell (b. 1981), a native of Miami, has been featured in both The New Yorker's debut fiction issue and New York magazine's list of twenty-five people to watch under the age of twenty-six. She is a graduate of the Columbia MFA program and is the 2005 recipient of the Transatlantic Review/Henfield Foundation Award; her fiction has recently appeared in Conjunctions, Granta, Zoetrope, Oxford American, and The New Yorker.

Her first book of short stories, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves was published in September 2006, for which she was named a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" young writer honoree at a November 2009 ceremony. Swamplandia (Feb 2011) is her first novel.

This biography was last updated on 05/08/2013.

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Interview

In two separate interviews Karen Russell talks about her first book of short stories, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, and her first novel, Swamplandia!

A Conversation with
Karen Russell about her first novel, Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! and your story collection, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, are both set in a sort of enchanted, Lewis Carroll-like version of North America. What draws you to these worlds and how do you create them? 

Well, I think I owe a big debt to Lewis Carroll himself, probably, and other folks who I read as a kid like Ray Bradbury and Peter S. Beagle and Stephen King and Madeleine L'Engle. My favorite books were always the ones where I felt like an alternate world had been created in some star cradle by the author and, in an amazing feat of compression, shrunken down into a 200-page book (or, in the case of Ray Bradbury, a three page story about a country uncle with green wings).  I think I wanted to create strange but familiar snow-globe worlds almost as soon as I started reading these books
 
I also think I'm drawn to imaginary places because it's an architecture that any reading consciousness can enter - as a kid I ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Karen Russell at BookBrowse
Vampires in the Lemon Grove jacket Swamplandia! jacket St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Karen Russell but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Chris Adrian

    Chris Adrian

    Chris Adrian was born in Washington, D.C. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is currently a medical student in Virginia. Part of this novel first appeared in The New Yorker under the title 'Every Night ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Swamplandia!

    Try:
    A Better Angel
    by Chris Adrian

  • Tiffany Baker

    Tiffany Baker

    Tiffany Baker’s Recipe For A Writing Life

    A handful of islands: Belvedere , Aquidneck, Balboa, Manhattan, Corsica, Maui, the UK
    Three small children: Two girls and a boy, plump in the cheeks and knees. Strong-willed ...

    (more)

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