Photo Credit: Judy Natal
[ a b o u t ]
The official bio
Karissa Chen is a writer who splits her time between New Jersey and Taipei, Taiwan. She is the author of the chapbooks Meditations on My Name (AWST Press) and Of Birds and Lovers (Corgi Snorkel Press). Her fiction and essays have appeared in Longreads, PEN America, Catapult, Gulf Coast, VIDA Web, Guernica, and The Toast, among others. Her flash fiction has twice been chosen for Wigleaf's Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions. She has also contributed articles on literature, food, and Asian American interest to national publications such as Audible Range and Eater.
Karissa was a Fulbright Fellow in Taiwan in 2015-2016 and has been awarded an artist fellowship from the NJ Council on the Arts. She was a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellow in 2017 to Millay Colony and was the recipient of the diFilipis-Rosselli Scholarship at the Napa Valley Writers Conference in 2011. She is a Kundiman Fiction fellow and a VONA/Voices fellow. She has also been awarded residences at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, the Ragdale Foundation, and Willapa Bay AiR.
Karissa currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief at Hyphen magazine. She is also the Fiction Editor at The Rumpus, a Contributing Editor at Catapult, and a Cofounding Editor of Some Call It Ballin'.
She received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She has coordinated and facilitated creative writing workshops for incarcerated young men in Valhalla, New York and has taught creative writing in Brooklyn, NY and Taipei, Taiwan. She is working on a novel.
Karissa also customizes websites sometimes. Contact her if you need help with one!
The real bio
I am a writer, dreamer, eater, reader. I have a weakness for good food, happy hour karaoke and cupcakes of any kind. I love the Dallas Cowboys almost as much as I love corn and bacon. I adore children, especially the young ones, especially the toddlers, because I love how they light up when they smile. I teach sometimes, sometimes English to orphans and lately to young men in jail. I believe in love and poetry and the power of words to gut hearts and change lives. I like books and movies that make me cry, but have also been known to cry at the ballet, the opera, during musicals and at music gigs. I hear words humming above my head all the time and live in fear of the day they fall silent permanently. I like sunshine and sundresses and flip flops and Southern California; I wish I could be bicoastal. I believe chivalry is not only alive and kicking but underrated and worth so much. I derive more joy out of eating good food than out of anything else. I left my heart in Vietnam with a bunch of children and babies who are scattered across the globe now. I believe in the good of humanity, in the ideals of the American forefathers, in compassion, and in the future. I live to write. I want to be a poet. I wish on first stars and birthday candles and dandelions and fallen eyelashes. I think passion is sexy. I am working on a novel. I have vivid dreams almost every night. I am an ENFJ. I write sad things all the time but I’m effervescent and optimistic about life. I look for the beautiful in the flawed and obscure. I read the way I eat, sometimes forgetting to breathe. I love traveling because I like new experiences and strange foods, but am content to keep busy with new experiences close to home until I have money to globetrot. I will try almost any food once, with the exception of most bugs. I’m afraid of heights, of loneliness, of painful death, of cockroaches. I am a night owl and so I write at odd hours of night.
Eight days… is really only a week on a world slightly larger than earth. That's why this is a good place for love. It's just the right size for longing.
— Patrick Rosal