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SAY HELLO! You’ll hear back once in a while about new projects, overdue books, and writerly musings. Follow my HBD2U project for a daily good cheer.

Karen Engelmann was born and raised in Iow…wait a minute. I’m writing this, so it should be in first person voice, not close third or (God, would you like to write this?) omniscient. Revised:

I was born and raised in Iowa, and had an early love of drawing, reading and writing, but art was more fun. This is how life decisions are made. I received a BFA from the University of Iowa, then pursued a career in illustration, graphic design, and art direction in Sweden — after pursuing a boyfriend there first — working freelance, for the daily newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet, and IKEA. After nearly a decade, I made another fairly ridiculous transatlantic move to New York City, eventually working for Macy’s, Sotheby’s, Seth Godin Productions and numerous free-lance clients.

Eventually, I reengaged with writing and began raising children (not the best combo.) I authored/co-authored/designed three books between 1997 and 2000, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in 2009. My thesis project, The Stockholm Octavo (historical fiction set in late 18th century Sweden) was published by Ecco Press in 2012 and translated to 14 languages. The novel was an Indie Next selection, New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, and received starred reviews in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Library Journal. It was listed in Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction for 2012, a grant recipient from the American Scandinavian Society, and a 2013 winner of the Washington Irving Book Award for Fiction.

I’ve written pieces for The Wall Street Journal, Powell’s, Broad Street and other online sites. I was fortunate to be a 2014 Walter Dakin Fellow at the Sewanee Writers Conference and chosen as one of ArtsWestchester’s 50 for 50 in 2015. I’m currently revising a novel, Miss Hall’s Last Costume, and promoting non-partisan good cheer with HBD2U — my illustration project sending daily Happy Birthday greetings to the world via Facebook and Instagram. I live in NYC and Phoenix.


Stéphanie Abou
Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents
27 West 20th Street, Suite 305
New York, NY 10011
(212) 352-2055