IG: @kim_adrian_ | BLOG


"Adrian's writing remains hypnotic on every subject." -Tin House
dear knausgaard
"A delight from start to finish." —James Wood, literary critic for The New Yorker ★ Written as a series of letters to the Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard, Dear Knausgaard is a heartfelt celebration of the act of reading and a compelling feminist critique of My Struggle, Knausgaard's 6-volume autobiographical novel.
Fiction Advocate (2020) - literary criticism

“On display is a rigorous mind, a fiery intellect, a curious and engaged reader.” —The Boston Globe

“Adrian ruthlessly interrogates the work and the literary world at large, especially the misogyny that she finds in both places.” —Publisher's Weekly

“If you’re seeking a heady, thoughtful response to a heady, thoughtful multi-volume work — well, we have a recommendation for you.” —Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"Kim Adrian's loving struggle with Knausgaard is the kind of criticism I most enjoy — personal, wonderfully engaged, intense but somehow simultaneously light-footed, and extremely intelligent. The brilliance of her feminist critique is that it acutely exposes vulnerabilities in Knausgaard's male universalism while affectionately acknowledging the scope and appeal of his inevitably gendered voice. A delight from start to finish." —James Wood, literary critic for The New Yorker

Listen to an interview with New Books Network about Dear Knausgaard:

Kim teaches in the 10-month Manuscript Program (memoir section) at the Pioneer Valley Writers' Workshop. Her previous teaching experience includes teaching creative nonfiction at Brown University, Boston University, and GrubStreet, as well as independently.

"Kim Adrian is an excellent teacher. She can describe with such insight and precision what’s working and not working in any given piece being workshopped."

"Kim's degree of specificity with writing craft and memoir shaping ideas were excellent. She modeled feedback that was useful, clear, constructive, and actionable."

"An invaluable experience. Kim Adrian was great. She was engaging, full of information and ideas. She's a great listener and is especially personable.

"Great class! Immediately established a community. Lots of prompts and writing."

"Engaging, informative and super supportive. Kim Adrian is a gifted instructor with insight, deep knowledge about writing and a firm but gentle approach to bringing out each writers' best."

"Kim controlled the class, while allowing everyone to contribute, an excellent instructor!"

"Kim was terrific. A natural listener with totally relevant and helpful responses to each participant. Balanced and professional."


I work with new and established writers of memoir, fiction, creative nonfiction, and more adventurous forms of criticism. My feedback style is honest, thoughtful, constructive. To learn about my method or to inquire about a consultation, please email me at .


"Kim Adrian is a powerhouse! With a remarkable eye for everything from structure to the smallest detail, she meets you where you are and helps you realize the full potential of your project. I can’t recommend her more highly."
—Ann Tashi Slater, publications in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and elsewhere

"Kim’s consultation is unfailingly on point. Her close reading and honesty help me take my writing forward. When it comes to assessing voice, Kim has a golden ear. Her love of language and deep understanding of craft inform her valuable feedback."
—Judith Helfand, working on a memoir

"Kim's reading of my first chapter made me feel she’d caught every nuance I’d put into the material, and even every intention. Her observations and advice helped me enormously and stayed with me as I revised other chapters and produced new material."
——Anne Mackin, author of Americans and Their Land: the House Built on Abundance (University of Michigan Press), working on a novel

"Kim Adrian is the consummate professional. She somehow strikes just the right balance between being warm and truth-telling, a winning combination to move writing to the next level. She both provided specific feedback on my piece and talked about general craft points applicable to the work. This two-pronged approach makes her an extremely effective teacher. I would absolutely hire her again."
—Sheryl Boris-Schacter, working on a memoir

"In both her written comments, and during our face to face meeting, Adrian was fully engaged with me and my work, and brought her intelligence and keen instincts, as well as warmth and humor to our conversations. I came away with a list of tasks that have been a road map for my current draft."
—Suzanne Simmons, publications in The New York Times, Rattle, Baltimore Review, and elsewhere
Image: Luigi Nono, Prometeo.
the twenty-seventh letter of the alphabet
“Glints with poetry and wisdom.”Los Angeles Review of Books ★ A portrait of the chaos and confusion of a mother's mental illness, my memoir, The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet, is about a daughter's struggle to face the Medusa of generational trauma without turning to stone.
University of Nebraska Press (2018) - memoir
A Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist and a Poets & Writers New & Noteworthy Read
“Astonishing and inventive. [Adrian's] glossary is strangely gripping, with a momentum pulling the reader in and through. The result is whimsical, even darkly funny at times, brimming with compassion, terribly sad and deeply loving. Memoir readers should not miss this singular offering.”
Shelf Awareness

“This ambitious memoir glints with poetry and wisdom. . . . Aching, endless, unresolved, and extremely compelling.”
The Los Angeles Review of Books

“An intimate and searching accumulation of the moments, tender and brutal, that heap together and create a life.”
The Boston Globe

“Adrian uses a highly unconventional form to mirror her confusion over how to connect her wide-ranging, frequently painful memories of what she and her sister endured . . . creating deep connections between the reader and her childhood self.”

“An unconventional, wildly disturbing, and hugely innovative book.”
The Florida Review

“A remarkable rendering of a mother-daughter relationship . . . at turns hilarious, repulsive, poetic, and devastating.”
Propeller Books

“Adrian’s writing remains hypnotic on every subject, a consuming plunge into each and every moment.”
Tin House

“Many books are described as ‘brave’—this one really is.”
—Sue Williams Silverman, author of Love Sick
Awards, Honors, Fellowships
Kim's work has received support from, among others, the Edward Albee Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writing Seminars, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and, most recently, the Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus, in Bavaria, Germany.
(Image: a doorknob in Germany).
about me
Kim Adrian is the author of two books of creative criticism (Dear Knausgaard and Sock), and a memoir, The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet, which was a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist. She has over twenty years of teaching experience in university, professional, and independent settings. Her MFA (in Literature and Creative Writing) is from Bennington, her BA from Barnard College. She lives in Boston, and is currently working on a novel.
Kim is the librettest for The Strange Child, a full-length chamber opera with music by Julia Werntz. The Strange Child was produced with the generous support of a Heinz Endowment Grant, and premiered at Alloy Studios in Pittsburgh, June 2022.
The fruit of my three-year collaboration with composer Julia Werntz. The Strange Child was commissioned by Kamratōn, a music group that "exists to challenge the boundaries of music performance, expand the contemporary chamber music repertoire, and celebrate the role of women as leaders in the arts." Its premiere was directed by Shana Simmons, with musical direction by Daniel Curtis, and singers and musicians from Kamratōn and Quince ensembles. Kim's libretto is based on a little known fairy tale by the German Romantic writer E.T.A. Hoffman.

The video below is an interview Julia and Kim had with the composer John Alward on May 20, 2022.

Stories & Essays
Several of Kim's essays and short stories have been listed as Notable or Distinguished in the Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, and Pushcart Prize anthologies.
Image: Rekyavik window, taken on a visit I made to that city in 2017
the shell game
“Pushes the boundaries of prose and opens up a whole new world.”New Pages ★ Kim Adrian initiated and edited this ground-breaking collection of "hermit crab essays"—essays that borrow their forms from ordinary, everyday things, such as recipes, police reports, and crossword puzzles. The Shell Game is often cited as a foremost example of the genre.
University of Nebraska Press (2018) - essay anthology (editor)
“Pushes the boundaries of prose and opens up a whole new world. . . . [The Shell Game] makes readers feel as if they are learning what an essay is (or could be) all over again.” —New Pages

“The essays in this collection bring with them a sense of hope about literature and its capacity for evolution and change.” —The Millions

“Adrian’s introduction demonstrates the potential and beauty of the hermit crab approach [and] . . . is often laugh-out-loud funny.” —Literary Journalism Studies

“Anyone from the expert essayist, lay reader, or a teacher looking for an evocative anthology will find something of value in these pages.” —Columbia Journal

The Shell Game may serve to expand what readers think of when they think of the essay.” —Punctuate Magazine

“If you were to recommend this book to others, you’d likely tell them to savor it, make it last.” —Hippocampus Magazine

“A unique and significant contribution.” —Split Rock Review



“Illuminating, erudite, deeply intelligent.”Los Angeles Review of Books ★ Part of Bloomsbury's Object Lessons series, Sock reveals extraordinary historical, anatomical, and cutural secrets hiding in that most ordinary of objects, the sock.
Blooomsbury Academic (2017) - aesthetics, cultural criticism
Sock reflects on the brilliance present in the minutiae of our lives. With piercing wit, idiosyncratic humor and sharply insightful moments of personal examination, Adrian uses the most domestic of items as a lens through which to view the inelegance and wondrousness of humanity.” —Shelf Awareness

“A thoroughly delightful discussion.” —Washington Independent Review of Books

“An utterly engaging investigation . . . of human evolution, anatomy, physics, sexuality, fashion, painting, consumerism, manufacturing, and motherhood. . . . Illuminating, erudite, deeply intelligent.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

“What a treat! . . . This slim little marvel of trivia and attention to the overlooked . . . was a near-religious experience for me.” —Pages of Julia



Chinese edition of Sock
Please email Kim at to inquire about scheduling a lecture or reading at your bookstore, university, or event.
July 11, 2023
Brookline PHS
Whipple Fellowship
Guest Speaker

February 9, 2023
Lily Pad Lounge, Cambridge MA
Big screen viewing party for The Strange Child

September 29, 2022
Book Launch for the U.K. edition of Dear Knausgaard.

September 27, 2022
Wheaton College
Visiting Artist

July 3, 2022
Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus, SCHWANDORF, Germany
Creative Arts Residency Studio Open House.

June 17 and 18, 2022
Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, PITTSBURGH
Premier of The Strange Child

April 11, 2022
University of Hartford
Cardin Reading Series
Guest Speaker

October 2, 2021
Haystack Book Festival, NORFOLK CT
Guest Speaker

June 10, 2021
Boston LitCrawl - CAMBRIDGE MA
"The Art of (Writing About) Reading"

March 4, 2021
AWP Conference - ONLINE
"Close Readings: Experiments in Bibliomemoir"

September 3, 2020
Brookline Booksmith Reading from Dear Knausgaard

August 31, 2020
Essay Daily Salon, "Books About Books" - ONLINE
Guest Speaker

March 12, 2019
PageTurners Series - NYC
Guest Speaker

November 29, 2018
University of New Hampshire, UNH Writers' Series
Guest Speaker

November 4, 2018
Denver, CO
Counterpath Press Reading from The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet

November 3, 2018
NonfictioNOW Conference - PHOENIX
Panel Lead: "Writing the Hermit Crab Essay"

October 30, 2018
San Francisco, CA
Green Apple Books Reading from The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet

October 18, 2018
Shakespeare & Co. Reading from The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet

October 2, 2018
Brookline Booksmith Reading from The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet

June 2, 2017
NonfictioNOW Conference - REYKJAVIK, Iceland
Panel Lead: “Microhistories: Writing Deeply About Narrow Subjects.”

April 29, 2016
The Muse and the Marketplace Writers' Conference - BOSTON "The Lyric Essay"

April 16, 2016
The Art of Life After Workshop Series - BOSTON
"Grounded Words: a Body-Centered Workshop for Survivors of Sexual Violence"

January 28, 2016
McNally Jackson Bookstore Object Lessons