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Amsterdam Author event Craft

Mass: Formulae

Formulae is the theme I chose for last weekend’s edition of VERSO, Amsterdam’s live literary journal. In my role as guest editor, I got to choose the line-up and present my own editorial. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here it is (now cleaned up for publication). Household Gods When I was a […]

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Amsterdam Author event Books Language Publishing

Female Language

The bookshop is small but well-stocked. It occupies a narrow windowless space like most places in this part of Amsterdam. At the far end of the shop sits Sheila Heti, waiting to talk about her latest novel, Motherhood. We join the crowd. We are four women in a sea of female faces. Three of us […]

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Author event Craft Creative writing workshops

Violent Femmes

Last weekend, I gave a master class in novel writing for the International Writers’ Collective. Or, rather, I squirmed in the hot seat while director Sarah Carriger peppered me with a series of home questions about writing and eventually publishing my novel The Dancing Girl and the Turtle. I did my best to answer her […]

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Amsterdam Author event Safe spaces trigger warnings

Bubble Life

I live in a bubble. Holland is a left-leaning progressive nation that mandates universal health care, empowers foreign residents to vote in municipal elections and has long ago recognized gay marriage. The country offers free drug testing if you’re not sure about the pills you’re planning to pop at the next rave. I don’t live […]

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About Karen Kao Amsterdam Author event Book tour California Creative writing workshops

2017 in Words & Pictures

This so-called Chinese proverb is actually the brainchild of American adman Fred Barnard, who dreamed it up in 1921. He wanted folks to take him seriously, hence the fake Chinese source. Madeleine Thien is no huckster though she is a novelist. In Do Not Say We Have Nothing, she says the Chinese ancients believed that […]

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Author event Book marketing

A Book Blog Tour

Writers hate to market their books. To stand at a book fair and watch people scurry by. To pour your heart and soul into a blog post that only your mother ever reads. (Thanks, Mom.) But here I am anyway on a book blog tour. getting ready When my publisher first suggested the blog tour, […]

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Author event California Chinese-American

California Dreaming

In the aftermath of the wildly successful launch of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle, I thought I might run a serious risk of post-partum depression. What better antidote than to embark on a book tour? Or, as The Mamas and the Papas would say: I’d be safe and warm, if I was in LA. And […]