About the Author

About Karen Ma

NEW DELHI, INDIA – JUNE 10: Author Karen Ma poses for a portrait in Nizamuddin East on June 10, 2013 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak)

Karen Ma is a Chinese-American author and journalist who has lived in more than a half dozen cities around the world, including Beijing, Hong Kong, New Delhi, New York, Seattle, Tokyo and Kobe.

She is an experienced speaker with insights into the different approaches East and West have when confronting a problem, common misconceptions and key similarities. She speaks four languages and has been a featured speaker at the Shanghai and Beijing Bookworm Literary festivals (2014), the Nottingham Festival of Words (in Nottingham, U.K.) and has been interviewed or invited as a guest commentator on BBC Radio 4, NPR’s The World, the well-respected Sinica Podcast, and most recently, on BON TV.  She has also taught Chinese language, culture and film as a lecturer at several universities in Tokyo, New York and Beijing.

Born in China, Ma spent her formative years in Hong Kong and Japan, before earning an M.A. degree in Chinese language and literature from the University of Washington.  During her 20 plus years living in Japan and China, Ma worked as a journalist for the Daily Yomiuri, Kyodo News and NHK Radio Japan, taught languages at universities and wrote a book on cross-cultural stereotypes.

Ma’s most recent book is Excess Baggage, a semi-autobiographical novel based loosely on her family’s experience as Chinese immigrants living in Tokyo during the post bubble years of 1990s, published by San Francisco-based China Books in 2013.

Ma has authored numerous articles on cross-cultural issues for The International Herald Tribune, NPR, New York Newsday, Life Magazine, More Magazine, The Japan Times, South China Morning Post and New Delhi-based Mint, among others.  While living in New Delhi, India, she started a Chinese-language program at the Indian capital’s foremost international school, navigating administrations and India-China tension to build a successful curriculum.

She currently lives in Beijing with her family and is now busy researching her next book.   In addition to writing fiction, Ma is the author of the non-fiction book, Modern Madam Butterfly: Fantasy and Reality in Japanese Cross-cultural Relationships, published in 1996 by Charles E. Tuttle.

Karen welcomes your comments, opinions and insights about her work. She can be reached by email at modernbutterfly@yahoo.com, or via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Excess-Baggage-A-Novel/455424431209258