Karen Connelly

Karen Connelly’s first book of poetry, The Small Words in My Body, won the Pat Lowther Award. Her first book of prose, Touch the Dragon: A Thai Journal – an account of the year she spent in Thailand at seventeen – won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction in 1993; at twenty-four, she was the youngest writer ever to win that prize. The Lizard Cage, Connelly’s first novel, was shortlisted for both the Kiriyama Prize for Fiction and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. To write it, she found she had to lock herself in the cage along with the main character. For nine long years she imagined she was trapped in a windowless, 8 x 10 jail cell. “I cried every day for the first four years that I worked on that book,” Connelly said in an interview with Reader’s Digest. “There were times when I thought I would never be free of it.” She went on to explain what helped to urge her forward, "I came to realize that I was making my contribution to the largely unwritten history of kindness. At least that's one of my motives–to contribute to the literature of how people retain and nurture their humanity, particularly in difficult situations." Karen Connelly is currently working on a book of essays set in the refugee camps and among the rebel armies along the Burmese-Thai border. She makes her home in Toronto.


There will be Light: A Freedom to Write Literary Festival