Connelly, Karen Marie

Karen Marie Connelly, poet, novelist (b at Calgary, Alta 12 Mar 1969). Karen Connelly grew up in Calgary. In 1986, at the age of 17, she won a Rotary Scholarship that allowed her to spend a year living in a village in northern Thailand. She lived for extended periods in Europe and Asia before settling in Toronto. Connelly teaches at Humber College and is a popular speaker at national and international literary festivals. She explores themes of travel, cultural estrangement and language in her poetry and prose, both fiction and non-fiction.

Karen Connelly's first publication was The Small Words in My Body (1990), which won the Pat LOWTHER Memorial Award. The poems in this collection initially explore the landscape of memory and childhood and, later, a foreign terrain of cultural and linguistic displacement. These themes resurface in her collection This Brighter Prison: A Book of Journeys (1993), in which Connelly's travels in Spain and France are sensually rendered. The Border Surrounds Us (2000) includes Connelly's poetic reflections on her time spent on the Thailand/Burma (Myanmar) border in the late 1990s. The poems from her first collection are reprinted with those from The Disorder of Love (1997) in Grace and Poison (2001).

Karen Connelly's experiences as a teenager in a foreign land are documented in Touch the Dragon: A Thai Journal (1992), which won the GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD for non-fiction; it records the development of the young author as she encounters Thai culture and community. One Room in a Castle: Letters From Spain, France and Greece (1995) consists of diary entries, essays and short stories composed during an extended trip to Europe. Karen Connelly returns to the politically and emotionally charged landscape of late 1980s Burma (Myanmar) in her first novel, The Lizard Cage (2007), which won Britain's Orange Broadband Prize for New Writers.