Karen Autio

Children’s Author | Editor | Presenter

Karen Autio


Karen Autio was born in Fort William (now part of Thunder Bay), and grew up in Nipigon, Ontario, on the northern shore of Lake Superior. She was a creative, horse-loving child. Karen’s favourite books were Black Beauty, Hardy Boys, The Eagle of the Ninth, The Lantern Bearer, and the Dr. Seuss Beginner’s Dictionary. Around the age of nine she began writing stories just so that she could illustrate them.

Karen still likes to keep company with words, whether as a writer, editor, or reader. In her writing, she wants to present authentic settings and characters. One of the best parts of writing is when those characters become so "real" that they start directing the story!

Karen also likes to collect objects with stories, such as a wind-up watch that's older than she is and an antique desk that might have secret compartments. She loves to travel—she's visited Finland twice!—and has explored Europe, Singapore, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and many areas of North America. Karen now lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, with Okanagan Lake and apple orchards nearby. Between presentations to students to share her passion for researching and writing, Karen is working on her next book.


Karen Autio is an in-depth copy editor. She has extensive expertise in raising the bar on quality and consistency of written materials. She is passionate about producing clear and concise documents and is adept at spotting errors others miss. Her experience includes editing educational materials in-house and book manuscripts freelance: fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults, and adults.


June 2019 Word Award in the category Books – Specialty (Finalist) for GROWING UP IN WILD HORSE CANYON
March 2017 Okanagan Arts Award for Excellence in Literature (Finalist)
June 2016 Word Award for Children's Novel (Winner) for KAH-LAN THE ADVENTUROUS SEA OTTER
Spring 2016 KAH-LAN THE ADVENTUROUS SEA OTTER listed in the Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens
January 2016 Green Earth Book Award for Children’s Fiction (Nominee) for KAH-LAN THE ADVENTUROUS SEA OTTER
Spring 2014 SABOTAGE listed in the Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens
June 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Juvenile/YA Crime Book (Finalist) for SABOTAGE
Spring 2014 SABOTAGE listed in the Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens
April 2014 2015 Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award (Finalist) for SABOTAGE
May 2009 Chocolate Lily Book Award (Finalist) for SAARA'S PASSAGE
June 2006 Chocolate Lily Book Award (Finalist) for SECOND WATCH
May 2000, May 2002 British Columbia Festival of the Arts — Literary Arts Program (children’s writing) — one of twelve delegates selected by jury, based on excerpts  from SECOND WATCH

Professional Affiliations

CANSCAIP Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers
CWILL-BC Children’s Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia Society
CCBC Canadian Children’s Book Centre