Karen Osborn

Visiting Assistant Professor in English

Fiction writer, Karen Osborn is the author of three novels: Patchwork (1991), Between Earth and Sky (1996) and The River Road (2003). Widely reviewed in places such as The New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and Atlanta Constitution Journal, she has been described as a writer of “tremendous, quiet power.” Her work is deeply psychological and interested in women and families. She creates realistic worlds that ask moral questions and makes “an extraordinary effort to engage the American condition as we find it today.” (Washington Post) Patchwork recounts life in a rural South Carolina mill town over three generations by following the lives of three sisters. It was given a Notable Book Award by The New York Times, which called it a “psychologically sophisticated tale of women looking for love and autonomy.”

Between Earth and Sky, an epistolary novel, takes place in New Mexico between 1867 and 1930. In writing it, Osborn researched numerous original writings from the 1800's, and the book was praised for the “luminous” way it evoked the landscape and for presenting an accurate vision of the female pioneer experience. The River Road focuses on two contemporary families in crisis. In all of her books, Osborn experiments with form and structure. Kirkus Reviews compared the use of different perspectives in The River Road to the film, Rashomon. Also a poet, Osborn has taught fiction and poetry writing at several colleges and universities and has led workshops and done readings around the country, including participating recently in the Women's Writers Festival at Kent State. She is teaching creative writing and a seminar on identity while finishing her fourth novel.

Selected Publications

  • The Map (poetry), New England Watershed, 2006.
  • The River Road (William Morrow/Harper Collins, 2003).
  • Between Earth and Sky (William Morrow, 1996).
  • Patchwork (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991).

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