Karen Maeda Allman
Karen Maeda Allman is an Assistant Agent at Wales Literary Agency. Prior to that, she worked as a bookseller for over 33 years, 23 of these as author events coordinator at the Elliott Bay Book Company. Karen also worked as a nurse and as a nurse educator for 20 years.
As a kid, Karen’s favorite book Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh—she reread it annually for many years. She says of the book, “I think that Harriet’s New York City setting made me think about life beyond Phoenix, which is where I grew up. Harriet’s New York was a place where a girl could walk around a big city neighborhood filled with fascinating people and think about becoming a writer. Snooping was of course part of the deal. Years later, on my first trip to New York, I rode the Roosevelt tramway to Long Island and during the trip and I glimpsed Harriet’s beloved Carl Schurz Park.”
Most of Karen’s SAL experiences have involved significant time working at the book sales table at events. She’s always loved catching up with SAL patrons, guests, staff and volunteers about our favorite books and about the events yet to come. One of her favorite SAL events, she says, was with Ta-Nehisi Coates, who appeared in conversation with Seattle luminary, Vivian Phillips in 2015: “Reading his book (Between the World and Me) and listening to the conversation, I could feel a generational shift.”
On Karen’s desk, you’ll find an enormous to be read pile, an old wooden cigar box filled with family pictures, some Kaweko fountain pens and a calendar from Seagull Press.
Karen’s favorite book right now is The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, because, she says, “Even though I’m always interested in science writing and medical history, that a “biography” of cancer could be so suspenseful, so moving and so personal surprised me. And I could finally put to rest some lingering questions I had about the illness, treatment and death of a close friend.”