Dr. Karen is the author of On the Offensive: Prejudice in Language Past and Present (Cambridge University Press). This book was named an Outstanding Academic Title in the 2023 Choice awards, the American Library Association’s (ALA) prestigious annual list.

Her latest titles include Missed Conceptions: How we make sense of infertility (Broadleaf Books) and the best-selling God Bless America (Pitchstone).

Her other books include The Language of Discrimination, Language Myths, Mysteries and Magic, Haunting America, Would You Believe It?, Fisher’s Ghost and Other Stories, and the novel Hits & Mrs.

Karen is a senior researcher at Griffith University on the Building Blocks of Meaning (BBoM) project. She also undertakes research into prejudice and discrimination in language with the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked on the Script Encoding Initiative (SEI) project involving endangered writing systems for the Department of Linguistics and Unicode. Karen has also worked as a Consultant Linguist for several major companies, including Leap Frog and Amazon.

Along with Blake Smith, Karen is a co-host of Monster Talk, a popular podcast that uses monsters, folklore, and legends as a springboard to explore science and the humanities. Monster Talk is an award-winning show that has had over 9 million downloads. The show covers a wide range of topics, from legendary creatures such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster through to mysteries like the Bermuda Triangle.

Dr. Karen has also authored many scholarly works about language and applied linguistics, including semantics and pragmatics, cross-cultural communication, and sociolinguistics, with special interests in taboo language, discrimination and prejudice, gender and sexism, women’s health, and Australian and American culture and language. (Here is a review of her book about language and prejudice: On the Offensive.)

Karen writes about a diverse array of popular topics, including language and culture, psychology, history, and science. She contributes regularly to The Conversation and Psychology Today, while she has also written for Scientific American Mind, Women’s Health, Australasian Science, Fortean Times, Reader’s Digest, and other publications. As an expert, she has appeared on national and international podcasts, radio, TV shows, and documentaries, including A Current Affair, Today Tonight, NPR, Anderson Live, Alicia Menendez Tonight, the History Channel’s History’s Greatest Mysteries and Miracles Decoded, and Netflix’s Files of the Unexplained.

She has also written short fiction, including the stories Unforeseen Circumstances, Don’t Leave Me, I Am Me, Welcome Home, The Dark Road, Room For One More (Lord Dufferin’s Tale), The Legend of the Screaming Skull, Leap of Faith, The Way We Weren’t and Oliver & Olivia.

She has performed volunteer work with various organizations across Australia and the US, including Vision Australia, Feeding America, and St. Vincent de Paul.

Dr. Karen was born in Sydney, Australia, and holds a PhD in linguistics from the University of New England. She formerly lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and currently lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and son.