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. Karen went to high school in Silicon Valley and moved to London after graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1981. She worked for Blackwell Science and the T. S. Eliot Estate (“Dear Mrs. Eliot” a memoir about working with Valerie Eliot, was a cover story in the Guardian Review) before writing a bestselling environmental handbook.
Karen returned to the United States in 1992 and became a publisher herself, developing worldwide networks in fields including leadership, community, sports, international relations, and Asian studies. She worked with the Council on Foreign Relations as managing editor of the Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations, and in 1998 came up with the idea for an Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, which her new company developed for Charles Scribners Sons. She was elected to the board of the Content Division of the Software & Information Industry Association and later to the National Committee on US-China Relations, a group of political, business, and academic leaders. In 2017, she announced a partnership with the Encyclopedia of China Publishing House, part of the China Publishing Group, and their plans for an International Editorial Center in New York and Beijing.
From Silicon Valley to London, and now to a rural-urban life in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and New York City, Karen has been ahead of the curve on issues ranging from green and local lifestyles to the importance of online networking and global entrepreneurship. Beginning as a speaker on women’s issues for the UK Green Party when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, Karen has worked with consumer and research groups and frequently speaks and writes about publishing technology, intellectual property, and copyright.
Her own environmental books, for adults and children, have been published in the UK and the United States translated into French, German, Swedish, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and both traditional and simplified Chinese, and she was senior editor of the 4-volume Encyclopedia of Community, published by SAGE. She is the creator and publisher of the 10-volume Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability, the definitive educational resource written by 1,000 expert authors and now translated into Chinese.
Karen, who worked as a chef during college and loves to cook for family and friends, is currently developing an online platform for everything connected with eating Chinese as well as an academic reference work, the Encyclopedia of Chinese Cuisines, in partnership with Oxford University Press.
For news from Beijing (and elsewhere), sign up for our occasional dispatches at http://eepurl.com/xfTN. Recent posts include: China Partnership Launch, video @YouTube https://youtu.be/HaSS-mG5zVM and @Youku http://htl.li/qgrf30fj6O8
- “How Berkshire Publishing Went to China,” e-letter, December 21, 2016
- “Celebrating William H. McNeill (1917-2016),” e-letter, July 13, 2016
- “Don’t Steal This Book” by Karen Christensen in Library Journal Reviews, June 29, 2012
- “Marvin Mudrick and His Chickens” e-letter, October 7, 2010
- “Let’s Circulate Knowledge” , by Karen Christensen, Library Journal, 2010
- “Seeing the forest: why publishers and readers need to take a fresh look at print and online publishing to create a sustainable information industry” by Karen Christensen and Bill Siever, UKSG Serials, March 2010
- “Seeing the World” –Berkshire Savant, 2005.
- “Tenaciously Tackling Copyright and Licensing,” Originally published in Online Searcher
- “Dear Mrs. Eliot” by Karen Christensen, Guardian Review, January 29, 2005
2017 – Women and Leadership: History, Concepts, and Case Studies (co-editor and contributing author)
2014 – The Future of Sustainability (contributing author)
2012 – The Business of Sustainability (co-editor)
2009 – Berkshire Encyclopedia of China (co-editor)
2008 – China Gold: China’s Rise to Global Power and Olympic Glory (co-editor)
2007 – Global Perspectives on the United States (co-editor)
2006 – Heart of the Community: The Libraries We Love (co-editor)
2005 – Encyclopedia of World Sport (co-editor)
2004 – Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World (co-editor)
2002 – Encyclopedia of Modern Asia (co-editor)
2000 – Eco Living (author)
1995 – Rachel’s Roses (author)
1995 – The Green Home: How to Make Your World a Better Place (author)
1989 – Home Ecology (author)
In the Press
- “Big Big History, Small Press“, in Publishers Weekly, September 24, 2014
- “An Interview with Berkshire Publishing“, Academicpub, October 23, 2012
- Editorial about Berkshire China publications in Reference Reviews UK, 2010
- “Encyclopedic Approach“, Interview in Business Quarterly, by Robin Catalano, 2010
- “Sustainability – Will We Find It Online?“, Profile in Against The Grain, February 2010
- Encyclopedia of China in World Journal newspaper May 2009
- Interview in Booklist, September 2009
- “English Encyclopedia a definitive China Reference“, Berkshire profile in Beijing Today November 2009
- “It’s the Content, Stupid!” , Interview in Library Journal, by Mirela Roncevic, 2008
- “Berkshire Goes to China“, Interview by Judith Rosen, Publishers Weekly, July 2008
- “From Here to China“, Profile in The Women’s Times, by Elissa Alford, September 2008
- Interview with CEO bloggers, in the Washington Post, September 2006
- “CEO’s Tech Toolbox“, Interview in BusinessWeek, 2005
- “April Honoree: Karen Christensen“, Profile in Working Woman, April 2001