A former Catholic nun, Karen emerged as a writer with her memoir Through the Narrow Gate describing her convent life. Her brilliant The Spiral Staircase takes Karen from the convent into the world. Now an international bestselling author – she is published in 40 languages – Karen’s books which include A History of God, Islam and The Battle for God have become required reading for those wishing to understand militant piety. The Great Transformation, about the beginnings of religious traditions, was a bestseller. Muhammad has sold for twenty five years. The Case for God – What Religion Means was a bestseller. In 2008 she won a TED Award which launched The Charter for Compassion and led to her book Twelve Steps to the Compassionate Life – a New York Times Bestseller. Bodley Head and Knopf published her book on religion and violence, called Fields of Blood, in November 2014.
Her latest book, The Lost Art of Scripture, was published by The Bodley Head in June 2019.