Olsson, Karen 1972–

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Olsson, Karen 1972–

PERSONAL: Born 1972, in Washington, DC.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 19 Union Square W., New York, NY 10003.

CAREER: Texas Observer, Austin, editor; Texas Monthly, writer-at-large.

AWARDS, HONORS: First-place awards for both investigative reporting and news story, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, 1999.


Waterloo (novel), Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including Slate, Mother Jones, and Nation.

SIDELIGHTS: In 1999 journalist Karen Olsson was the recipient of two awards from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies for her reporting in Austin's Texas Observer newspaper. Although never stated, a fictionalized Austin, Texas, is the setting of her debut novel, Waterloo. The protagonist, Nick Lasseter, is a thirty-two-year-old reporter who is suffering from the loss of girlfriend Liza, who is now engaged to the wealthy Miles. Nick's favorite bar, the Sunset is closing, and his editor tells him his work is sub par. Nick's life picks up when he is assigned to write a profile of freshman Republican state legislator Beverly Flintic, a married woman who is having an affair with gubernatorial candidate Mark Hardaway and who innocently sponsors a bill written to benefit a land developer. Other characters include Bones Lasseter, Nick's alcoholic lobbyist uncle, and Andrea Carter, a black reporter whose father was a desegregationist who worked for a congressman whose death begins the story. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that "Olsson's characters cross paths as they struggle fitfully toward action through a haze of heat, alcohol and compromised ideals." A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that, "with clean, brisk prose, Olsson brings a specific, authentic sense of character, time and place to this story of Texas politicians and muckrakers."



Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2005, review of Waterloo, p. 660.

Publishers Weekly, August 1, 2005, review of Waterloo, p. 40.