Sweet Connections: Karin Killian

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Karin Killian
Title of Piece published in Sweet: Once, A Moon
Issue: 9.1

KillianFind her:
Originally from Northern Minnesota, Karin currently lives in Traverse City, Michigan, and loves to read on the beach during the summer. She does not currently have a website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

My Sweet publication was my first CNF publication. Last year I had another piece appear in the Spring 2018 issue Creative Nonfiction Magazine. That piece was an experimental project about a very personal topic. I was extremely honored and grateful that it found such a wonderful home. Also, I recently decided to return to school to study writing. (My undergraduate degree is in International Studies.) I recently completed my first semester in the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. I am honored to get to study in this incredible program.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I am currently working on a long essay about an experience I had right out of college, working as a volunteer with the UNHCR Public Information Office, which sent me to live in a refugee camp in Southern Mexico. Part of the essay is, naturally, about my experience in the camps. I was 22, and still rather naïve. My body was not accustomed to living in such harsh conditions. I got dengue fever. And of course, being young and inexperienced I was not able to do much work of any true benefit while I was there. But even more, I am trying to confront the history of the camps where I worked, how they relate to the current refugee crisis on our border and how my experience at 22 serves as a metaphor for me of naiveté and helplessness of most North Americans regarding the realities of these refugee populations.

Who is your favorite author?

Oh my—it is not possible to pick just one! I read widely and constantly, and I cherish the work of hundreds of different writers. But lately I have been reading a lot of Rachel Cusk and Abigail Thomas. I also was enormously impressed by Valeria Luiselli’s new novel Lost Children Archive.  In different ways the work of these writers have provided me with inspiration and instruction of immeasurable value.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

I just finished Heavy by Kiese Laymon.  The power of this book cannot be understated.

What inspires you to write?

I am most inspired by the secrets we keep.

What is your favorite sweet?

Last summer I got to travel to Paris with my daughters, who are ages 8 and 12. Before we went, we were trying to learn all we could about Paris, and we discovered this sweet little show on Amazon Prime called Alice in Paris.

In the show Alice visits all sorts of secret sweet shops in Paris. In one episode she goes to Le BonBon au Palais, and after seeing the episode we had to see it too!   http://www.bonbonsaupalais.fr/

It has to be one of the best candy stores in the world. The owner, Georges, is the most passionate business owner I have met. He has collected artisanal sweets made by traditional candy makers from every region in France. I was most impressed by the crystallized flowers. But every single thing we tasted was spectacular!   http://www.bonbonsaupalais.fr/les-fleurs-cristallisees/219-violettes-cristallisees.html

Thank you, Karin, for taking the time to reconnect with us. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

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