Katherine Arden

Bestselling Novelist & Middle Grade Author
Good Reads Choice Awards
Travels from: Burlington, VT

“Katherine made the talk feel very personal, as she tied in her own life experiences and how they affected her career.” – Merrimack Library, 2021

Katherine Arden is the author of the New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling Winternight Trilogy: The Bear and the NightingaleThe Girl in the Tower, and The Winter of the Witch, three historical fantasy novels set in medieval Russia. She is also the author of the Small Spaces Quartet, a middle grade horror series, whose titles include Small Spaces, Dead Voices, Dark Waters and Empty Smiles. Arden’s work has been translated into over twenty languages, and all her work has been optioned for film.

Born in Austin, Texas, she has studied Russian in Moscow, taught at a school in the French Alps, and worked on a farm in Hawaii. She currently lives in Vermont with her husband and her dog, where she grows a gigantic garden, hikes and skis.

The Bear and the Nightingale was named the best science fiction and fantasy novel of 2017 by Amazon, and nominated for an Astounding award, a Locus award, a Vermont Book Award. It was a finalist for both best debut and best fantasy at the Goodreads Choice awards. The Winternight Trilogy was also nominated for a Hugo for Best Series.

R.L Stine called Arden’s middle grade debut, Small Spaces, “terrifying and fun.” It was named a best book of 2018 by Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Chicago Public Library system, as well as being nominated for student book awards in over twenty states. Small Spaces was also the winner of Vermont’s Golden Dome Award and Kansas’ William Allen White Award.

Katherine’s Authors Out Loud Profile:

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Empty Smiles

GP Putnam’s Sons |
Middle Grade Novel

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden thrills once again in the finale to the critically acclaimed, spook-tacular quartet that began with Small Spaces.

It’s been three months since Ollie made a daring deal with the smiling man to save those she loved, and then vanished without a trace. The smiling man promised Coco, Brian and Phil, that they’d have a chance to save her, but as time goes by, they begin to worry that the smiling man has lied to them and Ollie is gone forever. But finally, a clue surfaces. A boy who went missing at a nearby traveling carnival appears at the town swimming hole, terrified and rambling. He tells anyone who’ll listen about the mysterious man who took him. How the man agreed to let him go on one condition: that he deliver a message. Play if you dare.

Game on! The smiling man has finally made his move. Now it’s Coco, Brian, and Phil’s turn to make theirs. And they know just where to start. The traveling carnival is coming to Evansburg.

Meanwhile, Ollie is trapped in the world behind the mist, learning the horrifying secrets of the smiling man’s carnival, trying everything to help her friends find her. Brian, Coco and Phil will risk everything to rescue Ollie—but they all soon realize this game is much more dangerous than the ones before. This time the smiling man is playing for keeps.

The summer nights are short, and Ollie, Coco, Brian, and Phil have only until sunrise to beat him once and for all—or it’s game over for everyone.

Dark Waters

GP Putnam’s Sons |
Middle Grade Novel

Filled with chills and spooks galore, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden’s latest installment in the creep-tastic Small Spaces Quartet is sure to haunt.

Until next time. That was chilling promise made to Ollie, Coco and Brian after they outsmarted the smiling man at Mount Hemlock Resort. And as the trio knows, the smiling man always keeps his promises. So when the lights flicker on and off at Brian’s family’s inn and a boom sounds at the door, there’s just one visitor it could be. Only, there’s no one there, just a cryptic note left outside signed simply as —S.

The smiling man loves his games and it seems a new one is afoot. But first, the three friends will have to survive a group trip to Lake Champlain where it’s said Vermont’s very own Loch Ness monster lives. When they’re left shipwrecked on an island haunted by a monster on both land and sea, Brian’s survival instincts kick in and it’s up to him to help everyone work together and find a way to escape.

One thing is for sure, the smiling man is back and he wants a rematch. And this time Brian is ready to play.

Dead Voices

GP Putnam’s Sons |
Middle Grade Novel

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in the critically acclaimed Small Spaces Quartet.

Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.

Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.

Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.

The Winter of the Witch

Del Ray |
Novel

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

“A tale both intimate and epic, featuring a heroine whose harrowing and wondrous journey culminates in an emotionally resonant finale.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

NAMED ONE OF PASTE’S BEST FANTASY BOOKS OF THE DECADE

Vasilisa Petrovna is an unforgettable heroine determined to forge her own path. Her gifts and her courage have drawn the attention of Morozko, the winter-king, but it is too soon to know if this connection will prove a blessing or a curse.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.

Small Spaces

GP Putnam’s Sons |
Middle Grade Novel

New York Times bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic.

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think—she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods—bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them—the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”

And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

The Girl in the Tower

Del Ray |
Novel

A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the backwoods of Russia to the court of Moscow, in the exhilarating sequel to Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel, The Bear and the Nightingale.

Katherine Arden’s enchanting first novel introduced readers to an irresistible heroine. Vasilisa has grown up at the edge of a Russian wilderness, where snowdrifts reach the eaves of her family’s wooden house and there is truth in the fairy tales told around the fire. Vasilisa’s gift for seeing what others do not won her the attention of Morozko—Frost, the winter demon from the stories—and together they saved her people from destruction. But Frost’s aid comes at a cost, and her people have condemned her as a witch.

Now Vasilisa faces an impossible choice. Driven from her home by frightened villagers, the only options left for her are marriage or the convent. She cannot bring herself to accept either fate and instead chooses adventure, dressing herself as a boy and setting off astride her magnificent stallion Solovey.

But after Vasilisa prevails in a skirmish with bandits, everything changes. The Grand Prince of Moscow anoints her a hero for her exploits, and she is reunited with her beloved sister and brother, who are now part of the Grand Prince’s inner circle. She dares not reveal to the court that she is a girl, for if her deception were discovered it would have terrible consequences for herself and her family. Before she can untangle herself from Moscow’s intrigues—and as Frost provides counsel that may or may not be trustworthy—she will also confront an even graver threat lying in wait for all of Moscow itself.

The Bear and the Nightingale

Del Ray |
Novel

Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.
 
“A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”—Naomi Novik, bestselling author of Uprooted

Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Russian Mythology and Fairy Tales

Be Afraid

In this incredibly fun presentation for young readers, kids learn how to tell a scary story by…telling one together. Including discussion of character, plot, setting, and spookiness, the kids and I fashion a new scary story right there on the spot from the kids’ suggestions. It’s always a lively, shivery time, and a great hands-on, conversational way to learn.

Building New Worlds on the Old Ones' Bones

In this talk we dive deep into the places where history meets myth, and how history and folklore can be used together to create new fantasy worlds. Including examples from popular and less-well-known novels, like the beloved Circe, and the less-known The King Must Die, plus my own Winternight Trilogy, we dig into how authors can use history and myth in their fiction.

Writing for Adults and Children

I talk about the challenges and delights of moving back and forth from publishing successfully into the adult fantasy market and the childrens’ horror market. I talk about voice, tone, pacing, and the respective challenges of each kind of writing.

Meet the Author: Katherine Arden (THE WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY)

Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy

Katherine Arden The Bear and the Nightingale

Excerpts from new work!

Essays written by Katherine Arden

Fan Art

Honors, Awards & Recognition

New York Times Bestseller
National Bestseller
International Bestseller
Indie Next Pick
USA Today Bestseller
Good Reads Choice Award
Amazon Bestseller
Vermont Golden Dome Award
Kansas William Allen White Award
Hugo nominee
Locus nominee

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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