Russell, Karen 1981-
Russell, Karen 1981-
PERSONAL: Born 1981. Education: Columbia University, M.F.A.
ADDRESSES: Home— New York, NY.
CAREER: Writer. Worked previously in the publicity department of Perseus Books, New York, NY.
AWARDS, HONORS: Transatlantic Review/Henfield Foundation Award, 2005.
St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (short stories), Knopf Publishing (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor of short stories to numerous publications, including Conjunctions, Granta, Zoetrope, Oxford American, and the New Yorker.
SIDELIGHTS: Karen Russell was an avid reader as a child, drawn to both typical young adult fare and to classic literature, and began writing at an early age.
Ultimately earning a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University, Russell made a name for herself in 2005 when she was selected by New York magazine as one of twenty-five New Yorkers to watch under the age of twenty-five. Her story “Haunting Olivia” was published in the New Yorker’s debut fiction issue. That story was included along with nine others in Russell’s first published collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. Her work has been lauded by critics as being wholly original and powerful in its fantastical imagery. In an interview with New Yorker contributor Carin Besser, Russell explained what she believes to be her creative inspiration: “Probably some mental Bermuda Triangle formed by diet Coke, cartoons, and insomnia . . .. I’m also from South Florida, where the lines between fantasy and reality have all melted together. Things like the goggles seem a lot less fantastical when you grow up in the shadow of a giant fibreglass dolphin.”
Gillian Engberg wrote in a review for Booklist:“Original and astonishing, joyful and unsettling, these are stories that will stay with readers.” A Publishers Weekly reviewer commended Russell’s “powers of description and mimicry,” further noting: “Her macabre fantasies structurally evoke great Southern writers like Flannery O’Connor.” In a People feature, Lauren Gallo called Russell “a storyteller with a voice like no other.”Library Journal contributor Amy Ford described the collection as a “startlingly original set of stories,” remarking that Russell is “poised to become a literary powerhouse.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Booklist, September 15, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, p. 29.
Library Journal, October 1, 2006, Amy Ford, review of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, p. 64.
People, September 18, 2006, Lauren Gallo, review of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, p. 51.
Publishers Weekly, July 24, 2006, review of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, p. 33.
New Yorker Online, http://www.newyorker.com/ (June 13, 2005), Carin Besser, author interview.*