I moved to Italy in 2022 to apply for my dual citizenship and open the Writer’s Nest in Florence’s Santo Spirito neighborhood. To my Italian friends I’m now known as Karena…I’m also the author of a poetry collection, Sister, and four creative writing adventure books: Rip the Page!, Leap Write In!, Write Back Soon! and Rip ALL the Pages! 52 Tear Out Adventures for Creative Writers.
As a writing guide, picture book writer, and traveling author, my aim is to create and be in service to those who want to explore and expand their imaginations. A recipient of a few grants and literary awards, and fellowships/residencies from Hedgebrook, Numeroventi, The Moth, and Djerassi Resident Artists Program, I host creatives at the Writer’s Nest for up to a week each month.
I also work with students remotely and in-person, one-on-one and in small groups. Part of each year I’m based in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere around the globe. To find out more contact me.



Karen’s Books Available For Purchase

Rip the Page! inspires creativity to flow, sparkle, whoosh, and claim a child’s imagination. Karen Benke uses playful, inviting, inspiring language to form ‘hooks’ to snag the interest and ‘reel in’ the imagination of children to write. Great for an individual writer on their own, and wonderful as a guideline for teachers or home-school parents to  inspire young hearts.
—San Francisco Book Review 

The wide-ranging essays in Write Back Soon! cover a lot of ground, everything from anecdotes to hands on prompts for inspiration. The gist of Karen’s books is that the best kind of writing helps us not just connect with others, but, in surprising ways, also to ourselves.
— Raluca Albu, Guernica, A Magazine of Art & Politics

Press Kit: Author Photos & Book Covers


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