KAREN ESSEX is an award-winning novelist and journalist and a screenwriter. She is the author of the national and international bestselling novel, Leonardo’s Swans, about the muses of Leonardo daVinci; Stealing Athena, the story of the controversial Elgin Marbles; and Dracula in Love, a retelling of the original vampire tale.
Essex also wrote two acclaimed biographical novels, Kleopatra and Pharaoh, which she adapted into a screenplay for Warner Bros. Lionsgate Entertainment and most recently Netflix have also developed the books for television, with Essex co-writing a pilot.
Essex adapted Anne Rice’s novel The Mummy or Ramses the Damned into a screenplay for Avatar director James Cameron and 20th Century Fox, and has written a script about the first king of Hawaii for Columbia/Tristar and Dwayne Johnson. She wrote a dance movie for Jennifer Lopez Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, a pilot for Fox TV, and continues to develop a variety of film and television projects.
Essex’s articles and essays have been published in Vogue, Playboy, L.A. Weekly, L.A. Style, and many other periodicals. Awarded highest honors from the Los Angeles Press Club for her thought-provoking story about the missing 1950s pinup icon Bettie Page, Essex then co-authored the biography, Bettie Page: Life of a Pinup Legend.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Essex was graduated from Tulane University, attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University, and received an MFA in Writing from Goddard College. She’s appeared on many TV shows including The Today Show and several PBS and NPR programs and has lectured extensively.
Essex’s novels are published in twenty-nine languages. Leonardo’s Swans, a runaway bestseller in Italy, won the prestigious Premio Roma Prize for foreign fiction. A New Orleans native, she lived in London for seven years and divides her time between NOLA, Los Angeles, and Europe.