Story by Carol Casey
In 2002, University of Maryland alumnae Karen Hesse was among 24 American scientists, scholars, artists, writers, musicians and activists to receive what is arguably the nation’s most prestigious private award given for personal creativity and achievement, a MacArthur Fellowship.The $500,000 “no strings attached”grants are given annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to individuals who, according to the foundation, “lift our spirits, illuminate human potential, and shape our collective future.” Hesse, a writer of children’s and young adult novels, was born
in Baltimore, Md., and earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1974. Now she writes from her home in Brattleboro,Vt. How did this woman from seemingly ordinary circumstances become
“The feeling I get when I write is akin to dropping through a trap door into the
an artist recognized as an exceptionally creative national treasure?
flow of an underground river,” Hesse says. “I stand in the current and just as a
How did Karen Hesse learn to follow her interior voice?
plant absorbs nutrients and energy from its surroundings, I absorb the energy of this subterranean river through my soul. This is not willed, it simply happens.” PHOTO COURTESY OF CREATAS
Terp Magazine, University of Maryland