“Writing gives me daily opportunities to be empathetic.  It’s hard to dismiss anyone when you have to try to figure out the motivation behind every action, from walking across a room to picking up a knife and stabbing someone.”

Karen Lee Boren was born and raised in a suburb on the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the setting for her novel, Girls in Peril and many of the stories in Mother Tongue.  She grew up in a large family, the youngest of six children.  After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a B.A. in English, she spent two years traveling in Europe, most significantly in Sweden and London.  She lived all over London, including in a Camden Town squat with people from nine different countries.  She worked a variety of jobs in London, as a cleaner, a server in a wine bar, and a secretary in the city.  After returning to the States, she spent two years living in Chicago, writing travel literature. 


She went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University,and a  Ph. D. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  She is now a professor at Rhode Island College.  She has taught writing workshops at the Stoke-Newington Literary Festival in London, Milliken University’s Annual Literary Festival, and the Ocean State Summer Writers Conference.  She has been a visiting writer at St. Mary’s University in South Bend and Georgia State University. 


Her novel Girls in Peril was the premiere publication for the Tin House Books New Voices series and a Barnes and Noble Discover selection.  Her novel Month of Fire was a finalist in the 2013 New American Press book contest.  Her fiction and nonfiction stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including WomenArts Journal, The Florida Review, Night Train, Karamu, New South, Hawaiˊi Pacific Review, Dominion Review, Yemassee, Epoch, Cream City Review, BookForum, Fourth Genre, Rites of Passage: Backpacking ‘Round Europe and The Best of Lonely Planet’s Travel Writing.  Online, her work can be found at Gadling.com, South85, and the journal of the Santa Fe Writer’s Project.  She is currently completing the novel Secret Waltz.


She lives Conimicut, RI with her husband Paul Greenlaw.


Karen Lee Boren

Karen Lee Boren is

available for workshops

and readings.