Karen Brown


AVAILABLE FALL 2012 Little Sinners and Other Stories from University of Nebraska Press

Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Karen Brown’s Little Sinners, and Other Stories features a sad, strange mosaic of women and men grappling with the loss and pain of everyday existence, people inhabiting a suburban landscape haunted by ghosts: a mother who leaps from a ridge, a mistress found at the bottom of the Connecticut River, a father who dresses in a pale blue-custom suit—and disappears. The dead leave behind postcards, houses, bottles of sherry, bones. They become local legends, their stories part of the characters’ own: an expectant mother in an isolated cottage on Long Island Sound uncovers an unsettling secret in her backyard; a troubled housewife is lured to a dinner party by a teenage girl whose mother has vanished under mysterious circumstances; a woman and her lover swim the pools of their neighborhood under cover of darkness; a young heiress struggles with mortality and the abandonments in her past.

These stories capture the domestic world in all its blighted promise—a world where women’s roles in housekeeping, marriage, childbirth, and sex have been all too well defined, and where the characters fashion, recklessly and passionately, their own methods of escape.

“Ilove this book. The characters in Little Sinners are sexy and knowing, and often behave badly, which makes them such fun to read about. They all possess bold, wayward hearts, and appetites that lead them to bliss or self-destruction, sometimes both.” - Christine Sneed, author of Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry, Grace Paley Prize winner

“Karen Brown’s stories are smart and psychologically acute, far from naive, yet filled with the glamour of falling in love, even drowning in it. Readers will find much to admire—and to love—in Little Sinners, and Other Stories.” — Laura Furman, author of The Mother Who Stayed and series editor of The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories


In Pins and Needles, Karen Brown explores love and loss between mother and child, husband and wife, close friends, and virtual strangers. In many of these stories, Brown shows how love emerges as infidelity—incongruous and disruptive, threatening the stability of daily life.


"Florida, Before the Storm" New York Times

"A Crash Course in Democracy" New York Times

"Florida, Still Standing" New York Times


"The Rubber Company Heiress," Five Points

"An Heiress Walks into a Bar," New Ohio Review | (Read as PDF)

"At the Pond," Good Housekeeping

"Little Sinners," Epoch | (Read as PDF)

"Lawn Man Love," Superstition Review

"Leaf House," TriQuarterly

"Swimming," Five Points
Listed as a Notable story in The Best American Short Stories, 2010

"The Fountain," H.O.W.

"Aubade," Colored Chalk: Evolving Prose and Mixing Mediums

"Mistresses," American Short Fiction

"Girl on a Couch," Freight Stories

"Galatea," Best American Short Stories 2008 | (Read as PDF)
Story originally appeared in Crazyhorse

"Isabel's Daughter," The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, 2009 Author Spotlight
Originally appeared in The Florida Review

"Unction," O. Henry Prize Stories, 2006 Originally appeared in The Georgia Review
Read an article in the St. Pete Times

"The Boyfriend," Epoch

"Passing," "With Zelly, Without Zelly," and "True," as Things I Did While You Were Gone, Epoch


Freight Stories Interview (Read as PDF)

All works © 2008 - 2011 Karen Brown. All Rights Reserved.