Winter Issue Release with Karen Hays


“What if, when a woman lifts her voice, no one stands up to join her?” asks Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award winner Karen Hays in “Harm’s Way,” her complex and frightening account of being intimately terrorized for years by a writer-stalker—a violation of her life that continues to this very day. The stalker’s methods are numerous and amount to a psychological torture that forced Hays into silence for years. In “Harm’s Way,” Hays engages with Joan Didion, Rebecca Solnit, and others to find within the act of writing “pure, stubborn hope, a sustained attempt at picking the lock, a terrible-delicious greed for the dignity and freedom I deserve.”

Karen will read from “Harm’s Way” on Thursday, February 22, at 7 pm at Ciné. Please join us in hearing Hays’s astute and fearless writing on trauma, narrative, mental perseverance, and the plights of stalked and abused women.

Karen Hays received her BS in Geology from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and her MS in Hydrogeology from the University of Minnesota. In 2001, she left her career in the earth sciences to turn her attention to raising a family. A Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award recipient, her essays are idiosyncratic and far-reaching and have appeared in the Iowa Review, Conjunctions, Passages North, and the Normal School. She has received the Iowa Review Award for Nonfiction and her essay, “The Clockwise Detorsion of Snails,” was a “Notable Nonrequired Reading” in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. She now lives with her family on California’s Monterey Peninsula. 

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This event is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.