Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Berkshire Publishing Group
Website URL
Valerie Eliot, Sophia Mumford, women and leadership, wives, mistresses, salonnieres, secretaries, , Chinese history, English literature, 20th-century literary women, women and power, women leading from the margins
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Karen Christensen is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Berkshire Publishing Group, and a writer specializing in sustainability and community with a focus on China. She worked for Blackwell Science, Faber and Faber, and the T. S. Eliot estate before writing a bestselling environmental handbook.

In 2005, Karen became a publisher herself, with titles such as the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability and the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography.

She is currently working on Too Near the Flame, a book about Valerie Eliot, Sophia Mumford, and her relationship with these two literary widows and keepers of the flame. “Dear Mrs. Eliot,” her memoir about working with Valerie Eliot, was a cover story in the Guardian Review (January 29, 2005). In “Paths to Power,” a chapter in Women & Leadership: History, Theories, and Case Studies, edited by George R. Goethals and Crystal A. Hoyt (Berkshire 2017), Karen explored the nontraditional ways that women in history have gained and wielded power.

Recent Publications

Beyond the Book podcast, interview: (August 2019):

“Hidden Wives, Hidden Lives,” The Author (Autumn 2019).

“Thanks for Typing: The Wives, Daughters, Mothers, and Other Women Behind Famous Men,” Logos (in press).

“Leading from the Fringes” in Women and Leadership (Goethals & Hoyt, 2017).

Berkshire Bookworld podcast, Sophia Mumford at The Dial in the 1920s:

“Dear Mrs. Eliot,” cover story, Guardian Review (January 2005):

Media Coverage
New York Times, Guardian, The Times, Telegraph, Daily Express, Woman's Own
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
China, England, United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Book History, Environment, Food History, Literary History, Politics, Sexuality, Women, World War I, World War II