Department of English

Katherine Chen

B.A. English, Princeton University, 2012 , M.F.A. Creative Writing, Boston University, 2022
Research Interests Gender and Sexuality Studies, Literary and Cultural Theory, Race and Ethnicity, Romantic and Victorian, Studies in the Novel, Detective Fiction, Environmental Humanities


Katherine's research focuses on the role of weather prognostication in nineteenth-century Britain and the use of waste and “wasteland” in Victorian texts to explore space and landscape. She is the author of Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc, which was shortlisted for the 2023 American Library in Paris Book Award, and Mary B. Her writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe New York Times Book ReviewLos Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, and other publications. Her next book, under contract with Random House, will explore the complex sibling relationship between Morgan le Fay and Arthur.


Recent News

First-year graduate student Katherine J. Chen, winner of the 2023 American Library in Paris Book Award, returns to the Library to discuss her fictionalized account of the life of Joan of Arc with Patricia Dailey (Columbia University).
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The 2023 jury—consisting of Lauren Groff (chair), Doan Bui and Sudhir Hazareesingh—wrote of the book:

“Congratulations to Katherine J. Chen for Joan, winner of the eleventh annual American Library in Paris Book Award. The book is a fierce fictional retelling of the life of Joan of Arc. Deeply researched and fully imagined, Joan manages to subvert the old, dusty narratives about the ardent virgin warrior from Domremy in Eastern France, and creates a flawed, complicated, and compelling heroine for our age.”

The winner was announced by jury member Doan Bui before an audience of Library supporters on 9 November at the George C. Marshall Center in the Hôtel de Talleyrand on the Place de la Concorde.
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First-Year PhD student Katherine Chen's Joan: A Novel (Random House USA / Hodder & Stoughton UK), has been shortlisted for the 2023 American Library in Paris Book Award. The winner will be announced on 9 November 2023. Joan is Chen's second published novel, and it is a thrilling, feminist reimagining of the life of Joan of Arc, from her childhood until her capture.
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