Karen Collum grew up in Launceston, Tasmania where she was often told she talked too much. From an early age, Karen made up songs and poems to entertain (and torture) her brothers. She was the spelling champion of her school in Grade 6 but fell from grace at the regional championships when she misspelled ‘surprise’. Surprise, surprise, she’s never got it wrong since.
Karen loved school (even though it wasn’t cool to admit it) and developed a life-long passion for learning. She had a natural flair for writing and was awarded the top prize for the state in English in Year 11. Karen decided to become a primary school teacher and graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Tasmania in 1996.
Karen’s love for words was put to good use in the classroom where she shared her passion with hundreds of ten to twelve year olds. Prone to telling stories at the drop of a hat, the students soon learned that the best way to distract Mrs Collum was to suggest they create a new piece of literary genius. She also made a habit of reading picture books to her upper primary students, even though most of them pretended they were too grown up for things like that.
In 2005, Karen entered a whole new and wonderful world with the birth of her son, Possum (no, that’s not his real name). Her family has since expanded with the arrival of her identical twins, JJ and Moo (not their real names either) in 2008. Miss H was born in 2010 and Karen’s family is now complete. When she’s not scribbling on a notepad while making dinner, she can often be found sitting on the floor, surrounded by books, with four wriggling children on her lap. The kids are a great source of inspiration and may one day be cross that Karen used so many of their funny stories in her books.
In 2008, Karen finally acknowledged the power of words in her life and began her writing career in earnest. She has been published in a variety of magazines including Writing Queensland, Making Babies and Melbourne’s Child. She was also shortlisted in the Skive Short Story Competition 2008 and The Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network Picture Book Competition 2008.
Karen has three picture books published – Fish Don’t Need Snorkels (Stanborough Press), When I Look at You: A book about my feelings (Stanborough Press) and Samuel’s Kisses (New Frontier Publishing). She is represented by literary agent Anjanette Fennell from Rick Raftos Management.