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Karen Essex Karen Essex

Karen-Essex is an award-winning novelist and journalist and a screenwriter. She is the author of the national and international best-selling novel, Leonardo’s Swans (Doubleday 2006), about the rivalries among the powerful women painted by the great master when he was employed by the Duke of Milan. Continuing in the theme of women’s influence upon culture and art, her latest novel, Stealing Athena, chronicles the story of the controversial Elgin Marbles from the points of view of two fascinating women, Mary Nisbet, Countess of Elgin, and Aspasia, mistress to Pericles.

Essex has also written two acclaimed biographical novels about the queen of Egypt, Kleopatra and Pharaoh, published in 2001 and 2002, which she adapted into a screenplay for Warner Bros. She also adapted Anne Rice’s novel The Mummy or Ramses the Damned into a screenplay for Titanic director James Cameron and 20th Century Fox, and has written a screenplay about Kamehameha, the first king of Hawaii, for Columbia/Tristar. She has written a dance movie for Jennifer Lopez Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, and continues to develop a variety of film projects.

Essex’s articles, essays and profiles have been published in Vogue, Playboy, The L. A. Weekly, L. A. Style, and many other periodicals. After being awarded highest honors from the Los Angeles Press Club for her thought-provoking cover story about the missing 1950s pinup icon Bettie Page, Essex co-authored the biography, Bettie Page: Life of a Pinup Legend. Essex is the first and only journalist with whom the reclusive Ms. Page has ever agreed to meet and cooperate.

Essex was born and raised in New Orleans. She was graduated from Tulane University, attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University, and received an MFA in Writing from Goddard College in Vermont. She’s appeared on The Today Show and A Word on Words hosted by John Seigenthaler, as well as other PBS and NPR programs. She’s lectured at the Chicago Museum of Art, and extensively at universities. Her books are taught in many college courses from creative writing to history to women’s studies.

Leonardo’s Swans, a runaway bestseller in Italy, won the prestigious 2007 Premio Roma for foreign fiction. Essex’s novels are published in twenty-seven languages. She lives in Los Angeles.

Dracula in Love Leonard's Swans
Dracula in Love Leonard's Swans

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