Born in Bangor in 1974, Karen was brought up in Pen-y-groes in the slate quarrying Dyffryn Nantlle in Gwynedd, where she still lives. Educated at Ysgol Gynradd Pen-y-groes and Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle, she then studied Pure Mathematics at University of Wales Bangor, before deciding she would rather forge a career in journalism.
She joined Welsh language weekly magazine Golwg as Arts Correspondent in 1995, before becoming editor of the publication in 2000 - a post she held for seven years. After spending three years as Producer of Religious Programmes at BBC Cymru in Bangor (2007-2010), she returned to print media in December 2010 and is currently a journalist on Welsh language newspaper Y Cymrobut is also a freelance writer.
She has published two volumes of poetry - Yn Fy Lle (In My Place) in 2006, and Siarad Trwy'i Het(Talking Through His Hat) in 2011, both with Barddas press. She travels Wales and beyond discussing and performing her work, and has been awarded a Winston Churchill 2011 Memorial Scholarship to travel to Colombia, India, Ukraine and South Africa in order to study strands of their poetic traditions. Her third volume of poetry, Math (poems based on mathematics) will be published in 2012/13 by Gwasg y Bwthyn press.
As a practiser of Cynghanedd (ancient Welsh strict metre), she teaches the craft in night classes and workshops. Karen has won numerous Chairs and Crowns in local and provincial eisteddfodau, and is a literary adjudicator and critic, contributing to radio and television programmes.
Her television documentary Cyfrinach Olaf Frida (Frida's Last Secret), based on the murder of her great-grandmother, was broadcast on S4C in July 2009.
'I like to use the languages of the various arts – literature, music, theatre...I think that is the spirit of the modern global era.'- poet Ivan Hristov spoke to SJ Fowler of 3AM magazine about the evolution of the contemporary Bulgarian poetry scene.
Cosmin Borza discusses the work of Romania's 'Generation 2000' poets, including Radu Vancu and Claudiu Komartin in an essay at Asymptote.
At the Sofia Poetics festival, which was organised by Word Express participant Ivan Hristov, Scottish based poet Ryan Van Winkle caught up with fellow festival guests SJ Fowler and Tomasz Rózycki. To hear Fowler and Rózycki discussing their work and reading some of their poetry, listen to the Scottish Poetry Library podcast here.