Fiction writer Karen Thompson Walker explores the connection between fear and the imagination.

Why you should listen

In Karen Thompson Walker's 2012 book The Age of Miracles, a young girl and her family awake one morning to discover that the rotation of the Earth has suddenly begun to slow, stretching the length of the 24-hour day and throwing the natural world into disarray. It's a big, speculative book, but at heart, it's a simple human drama, told through the eyes of an observant adolescent girl.

A former book editor at Simon & Schuster, Walker worked on the novel for three years, an hour each morning before work. Fun fact: The Age of Miracles was published on June 21, 2012 -- the longest day of the year. Since then, the bestselling, much-awarded book has been translated into 29 languages.

What others say

“The book requires a suspension of disbelief – yet at the same time you look out of the window right now and you think, 'This could happen.'” — Suzanne Baboneau, Simon & Schuster

Karen Thompson Walker’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Karen Thompson Walker


The top 10 classic fears in literature

January 2, 2013

[ted id=1637 width=560 height=315]By Marianna Torgovnick It’s the story that inspired Moby Dick. In 1819, the crewmembers of the whaleship Essex watched in horror as their boat was struck by a sperm whale and began to flood. Forced into small boats with little food or water, they had three options: they could head to the […]

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How to read our fears: Karen Thompson Walker at TEDGlobal 2012

June 26, 2012

A story of fear In 1819, off the coast of Chile, 20 American sailors watch their whaleship, the Essex, fill with seawater. It had been struck by a sperm whale. They took to their small boats, with limited equipment and little food and water. This story, from Stove by a Whale, the narrative of Owen […]

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