Karen Lord (born 22 May 1968) is a Barbadian writer of speculative fiction. Her first novel, Redemption in Indigo (2010), retells the story "Ansige Karamba the Glutton" from Senegalese folklore and her second novel, The Best of All Possible Worlds (2013), is an example of social science fiction. Lord also writes in the sociology of religion.
Lord at an environmental awareness literary event in Barbados, 2009
|Born||Karen Antoinette Roberta Lord|
22 May 1968
|Alma mater||University of Toronto;|
|Genre||Fantasy, social science fiction, speculative fiction|
|Subject||Sociology of religion|
|Notable works||Redemption in Indigo (2010), The Best of All Possible Worlds (2013)|
Karen Lord was born in Barbados. She attended Queen’s College in Bridgetown, and earned a science degree from the University of Toronto and a PhD in the sociology of religion from Bangor University (conferred in 2008, the first year of its independence from the University of Wales).
Redemption in Indigo was originally published in 2010 by Small Beer Press, and republished in 2012 by Quercus under its Jo Fletcher Books imprint for SF, fantasy, and horror titles. The New York Times called it "a clever, exuberant mix of Caribbean and Senegalese influences that balances riotously funny set pieces ... with serious drama", the Caribbean Review of Books commented that the novel is "very sprightly from start to finish, with vivid descriptions, memorable heroes and villains, brisk pacing", and it was summed up by Booklist as "one of those literary works of which it can be said that not a word should be changed".
The Best of All Possible Worlds was published by Jo Fletcher Books/Quercus and Del Rey Books/Random House in 2013. One reviewer called it "a thoughtful and emotional novel ... one of the most enjoyable books I've recently read" while Nalo Hopkinson wrote in the Los Angeles Review of Books: "The Best of All Possible Worlds put me in mind of Junot Díaz’s brilliant novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Not stylistically: while Oscar Wao is an experimental pelau of modes served up in Díaz’s distinctly Dominicano and in-your-face voice, The Best of All Possible Worlds is a beautiful shape-shifter."
The Galaxy Game, which was released on 6 January 2015 from Del Rey Books/Random House, is described in an early review as "a satisfying exercise in being off-balance, a visceral lesson in how to fall forward and catch yourself in an amazing new place." Publishers Weekly refers to it as a "subtle, cerebral novel", while The Guardian reviewer writes that "the novel is a leisurely exploration of multiple societies, power-politics and race relations, in which discursive plot lines deceive before cohering in a satisfying finale."
Redemption in Indigo won the 2008 Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript, the 2010 Carl Brandon Society Parallax Award, the 2011 Crawford Award, the 2011 Mythopoeic Award, and the 2012 Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award for the Best Debut Novel.
Redemption in Indigo was also nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and longlisted for the 2011 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
- Redemption in Indigo. Small Beer Press, 2010. Jo Fletcher Books (ISBN 978-1780873084), 2012,
- The Best of All Possible Worlds. Jo Fletcher Books (hardback ISBN 978-1780871660; paperback ISBN 978-1780871684), 2013.
- The Galaxy Game. Jo Fletcher Books (hardback ISBN 978-1780876894; paperback ISBN 978-1784290429), 2015. Del Rey Books.
- New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean. Peepal Tree Press, 2016; ISBN 9781845233365
Critical studies and reviews of Lord's workEdit
- Spinrad, Norman (October–November 2013). "Genre versus literature". On Books. Asimov's Science Fiction. 37 (10–11): 182–191. Review of The Best of All Possible Worlds.
- "Always a New World: A Conversation with Karen Lord" (interview, Clarkesworld Magazine, February 2013)
- "Conversations with Richard Fidler" (featuring Karen Lord) (radio interview, ABC, Australia)
- "Karen Lord: Interview with Gavin Grant" (interview, BookPage, 2013)
- The Spaces Between the Words: Conversations with Writers (a podcast series affiliated with the Literatures in English section at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus and The Caribbean Review of Books)
- Nalo Hopkinson and Karen Lord in Conversation (Locus Roundtable Podcast with Karen Burnham)
- Podcast Interview on Bibliophile Stalker (with Charles Tan)
- Interview with Chesya Burke at the World SF Blog, 29 August 2011
- In conversation with Karen Burnham (Locus Roundtable Podcast)
- "Karen Lord: Dual Reality": Excerpts from an interview in Locus Magazine, 11 August 2011
- Jeremy L. C. Jones, "Always a New World: A Conversation with Karen Lord", Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 77, February 2013.
- For instance, "Negotiating identity: the Christian individual and the secular institution". John Reader; Christopher R. Baker, eds. (2009). Entering the New Theological Space: Blurred Encounters of Faith, Politics and Community. Ashgate. p. 256. ISBN 9780754663393.
- Karen Lord biography at The Cooke Agency.
- "Karen Lord | Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- WorldCat library record of Ph.D. thesis, Bangor University 2008, Karen Antoinette Roberta Lord: "Quantifying implicit religion: a critical assessment of definitions, hypotheses, methods and measures". Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- Karen Lord page at Jo Fletcher Books.
- Jeff Vandermeer, "Science Fiction Chronicle", New York Times (Sunday Book Review), 3 September 2010.
- Robert Edison Sandiford, "Redemption song", Caribbean Review of Books, September 2010.
- Booklist, 15 May 2010.
- "REVIEW: The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord" Archived 8 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine at Upcoming4.me, 13 June 2014.
- Nalo Hopkinson, "Beautiful Shape-Shifter: Karen Lord's 'The Best of All Possible Worlds'", Los Angeles Review of Books, 22 April 2013.
- The Galaxy Game page at Random House.
- Nisi Shawl, "Karen Lord’s ‘The Galaxy Game’: power tripping", Seattle Times, 11 January 2015.
- "The Galaxy Game" (review), Publishers Weekly, 6 October 2014.
- Eric Brown, "The best science fiction in January – review roundup", The Guardian, 16 January 2015.
- Alexander, Niall (12 June 2014). "Step into the Stars: Reach for Infinity, ed. Jonathan Strahan". Tor.com. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
- "Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Winners". Official Frank Collymore Hall Website. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "Carl Brandon Society Awards". Carl Brandon Society. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "2011 Crawford Award Announced". International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA). 28 January 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "Mythopoeic Awards 2011". Mythopoeic Society. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "The Kitschies: The Golden Tentacle". The Kitschies. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "World Fantasy Awards 2011". World Fantasy Convention website. Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "Karen Lord - Award Bibliography", Internet Speculative Fiction Database.
- "2011 OCM Bocas Prize Longlist Announced". NGC Bocas Litfest. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
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