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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mining for the details

“As a kid, I liked to write, but I didn't think that was a viable career choice. My dream, actually, was to be a white girl rapper and join Salt-N-Pepa - which obviously was a much more viable career choice.” – Karen Abbott

Born in Philadelphia on this date in 1973, Abbott is now a leading author of  historical non-fiction, including the best sellers Sin in the Second City, American Rose, and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, also slated for a TV mini-series. 

Abbott started writing while in college and chose journalism as her focus.  Her writing for newspapers and magazines in the Philadelphia area led to her interest in writing about history and historical events and ultimately to writing Sin in the Second City, set in Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.            While she now resides in New York City, where she is working on more books, she continues to write journalistically as a contributor to Smithsonian magazine’s history blog, "Past Imperfect,” and as a regular to the New York Times series “Disunion,” about the Civil War.  Her work also has often been featured in The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

“I think the most important thing journalism taught me is to mine for details,” Abbott said.  “The details are key. You can't try to be funny or strange or poignant; you have to let the details be funny or strange or poignant for you.”

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