Karen Babine: Writer of Creative Nonfiction

Author Karen Babine’s heart-wrenching novel All The Wild Hungers received the 2020 Minnesota Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, as well as her novel Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life.


Karen has always been a writer, and in her college career, she found that the genre she loved to write within was nonfiction. To Karen, writing is a way to process one’s thoughts and ideas. Writing allows one to pay attention to the world around them, and Karen believes that writing from one’s own perspective is unique to one’s own experiences.

When Karen won the Minnesota Book Award in 2016 for her first novel Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life, she considered this one of the greatest moments of her life. This moment became even greater when she could share it with her mother whose cancer diagnosis inspired her second novel, All The Wild Hungers.

Before the pandemic, Karen first moved to Chattanooga, and since then, she has not had the chance to explore the beauties of Chattanooga due to the restrictions of COVID. However, she is looking forward to exploring Chattanooga, and seeing how it appears in her writing. Karen believes that

Chattanooga is a place that writers would love because it has complexities, and many stories can come from it.

Karen believes that writing is like a muscle, you must repeatedly put in work to see progress and development. She encourages aspiring writers to practice freewriting, believing it’s all about the process.

When Karen was in college, she received advice from a professor to look within the literary series titled Best American Essays and look within the notable authors mentioned in the series. From there, see where writers similar to you or writers of your preferred subject are getting published from. This is a way to come into contact with publishing teams, and Karen strongly encourages getting to know other writers and editors because it is important to know your publishing landscape.

Karen is currently working on her next novel, set to be published in 2022, titled Acadie: A Family Ecology, where she explores her discovery of her family’s Acadian roots. She is also working on another piece that, “will tell her what it is”.

To keep up with Karen’s work, check out her website.