Kari Sperring

Kari Sperring grew up dreaming of joining the musketeers and saving France, only to discover that the company had been disbanded in 1776 and anyway never admitted women. Disappointed, instead she studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge University, going on to do a PhD in the same department about 11th century Welsh foreign policy (yes, really).

As K.L/Kari Maund she has written and published five books and many articles on Celtic and Viking history and co-authored a book on the history and real people behind her favourite novel, The Three Musketeers (with Phil Nanson).

Alongside this, she went on writing fiction (she completed her first novel at the age of 8 – it was 12 pages long and about ponies), and began selling short fiction in 2007. Kari’s first novel, LIVING WITH GHOSTS, was published by DAW Books in March 2009. It was awarded the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer 2010 by the British Fantasy Society, was short-listed for the IAFA William L. Crawford Award 2010, and made the Honor List for the 2010 James Tiptree Jr Award. Her second novel, THE GRASS KING’S CONCUBINE, was also published by DAW, in 2012.

Kari is currently at work on a sequel to THE GRASS KING’S CONCUBINE, and on a medieval, Welsh-themed Sekrit Projekt.

Agent Contact: John Berlyne




Awards & Commendations


- British Fantasy Award, Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer, Winner (2010)
- James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award, Honor List (2011)
- Locus Award, First Novel, 11th Place (2010)
- William L. Crawford, IAFA Fantasy Award, Finalist (2010)






- DAW Books (World Rights, 2009)

- DAW Books (World Rights, 2012)




      ‘One of the most immediate and brilliant things about LIVING WITH GHOSTS is Sperring’s ability to capture the dark atmosphere of the city and its characters. Sensation plays a massive role throughout the narrative, where in many cases characters feel things as opposed to knowing or experiencing them directly. This makes the story incredibly immersive and you are able to experience things with the characters as opposed to watching them from a distance. It is this ability to draw the reader in through these sensations that is the strongest part of the story… a great read that, much like the river in the story, pulls you in and refuses to let go… a brilliantly atmospheric novel with complex yet understandable characters and a dark setting filled with sensation. A recommended read for those with a taste for something a little different.’  —  Mithril Wisdom

      ‘… worth picking up. The characterization in particular is well above what I normally expect from SF&F. The magic is interesting too: very subtly done… overall it is a very impressive debut. Here’s hoping there are more books to come.’  —  Cheryl Morgan

      ‘Sperring also has a refreshing take on gender roles. In Dumas’s day women were often assigned the roles of unobtainable maiden or “fainting prize.” Here, in a nice twist on the classic ribald, that role is firmly assigned to the men. Merafi is run by ruthless sorceresses (Quenfrida) and savvy female politicians (Yvellaine). More often than not it’s the men who do the fainting and submitting as awesome, female driven forces of magic and intrigue begin to overwhelm the city… From suffering husband to sneering dominatrix, there’s a character for every taste in Ghosts, but the vulnerable, bisexual Gracielis is by far the standout… the characters are so appealing that you hang on every twist of their carmined lips… [a] beguiling, bewildering novel…’  —  Strange Horizons

      ‘… if you love a tale that concentrates on the feelings and emotional aspect of the characters then this is a book for you. Well written with the authors enthusiasm clearly coming through the tale its definitely a story that will remain with you long after the final page is turned.’  —  Falcata Times

      ‘This is a lush lyrical fantasy tale. It’s a dark tale of ghosts, intrigue, magic, politics and death… This was a wonderful read. Rich and dark…’  —  My Den

      ‘This is an enthralling fantasy that contains horror elements interwoven into the story line… [Gracielis] is a complex individual with a failed past; a conflicting present as a spy for the sorceress, and an advisor to one of the queen’s spymasters. This reviewer predicts Kari Sperring will have quite a future as a renowned fantasist.’  —  Genre Go Round


      ‘… a delightful book… graceful prose and elegantly unhurried pace… Sperring’s debut novel, LIVING WITH GHOSTS, received much well-deserved praise. THE GRASS KING’S CONCUBINE is different in both tone and texture, but more than lives up to its predecessor. An altogether stronger, better novel, it bodes well for Sperring’s future efforts: I look forward with great anticipation to what she will do next.’  —  Ideomancer

      ‘Sperring’s world is so fascinating, her characters so easy to relate to, her plot so unique that it’s hard to put this novel down. Her writing makes both WorldAbove and WorldBelow come alive. The industrial setting of the Brass City is sure to appeal to today’s lovers of steampunk and dystopian fiction, while the contrasts between the rich and poor will resonate to anyone affected by today’s economy. Read this book!!‘  —  Tulsa Book Review

      ‘Readers who are looking for a beautiful and original work of fantasy should pick up THE GRASS KING’S CONCUBINE. Sperring has said on her blog that she has plans for a sequel. I’m glad to hear it, and I will be interested to see what she does with the plots that are left hanging at the end of the first book. Overall, I found it to be an enjoyable read, and I think that fans of thoughtful fantasy should give THE GRASS KING’S CONCUBINE a try.’  —  Strange Horizons

      ‘This is a rather wonderful book… a beguiling sub-plot… Sperring has created an unusual world that surprises at every turn, giving the pleasures of high fantasy whilst avoiding the worn-out tropes.’  —  Living in the Maniototo