Karen Swallow Prior has served as research professor of English and Christianity and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She writes frequently on literature, culture, ethics, and ideas, and her most recent book is The Evangelical Imagination: How Stories, Images, and Metaphors Created a Culture in Crisis. Her writing has appeared at Christianity Today, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, First Things, Vox, Think Christian, The Gospel Coalition, Books and Culture, among others. She is also the author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me, Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist and On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Literature.
Dr. Prior gives frequent lectures and talks on her work. Among the places she has spoken are Wheaton College, University of Minnesota, Indiana Wesleyan University, Northwestern University, Grace College, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, The Gospel Coalition Conference, Redeemer University College, Toronto Baptist Seminary, United Theological Seminary, Festival of Faith and Writing, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Women’s Conference, Roanoke Regional Writers Conference, The Row House Forum, Q Boston, the Glen Workshop, and the Humane Society of the United States.
She completed her Ph.D. at the State University of New York at Buffalo and her undergraduate studies at Daemen College in Amherst, New York. Her academic focus is British literature, with a specialty in the 18th century, a period she loves for its emphasis on philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, and community, as well as its efforts at correcting the universal human impulse to gravitate toward extremes. Her scholarly work has appeared in 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era, The Shandean, The Scriblerian, and various literary encyclopedias.
Prior is a contributing editor for Comment, a founding member of The Pelican Project, a Senior Fellow at the International Alliance for Christian Education, a Senior Fellow at the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture, and she is a former member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States. She and her husband live on a 100-year-old homestead in central Virginia with dogs, chickens, and lots of books.
May 21st, 2021 | “Reading Jane Austen: A Novel Approach to Virtue” an Online Conversation with Karen Swallow Prior
April 27th, 2020 | “On Reading in Quarantine” an Online Conversation with Karen Swallow Prior
September 25th, 2018 | “On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books” an Evening Conversation in Nashville, TN with Karen Swallow Prior
Related Trinity Forum Readings
“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, featuring an original introduction by Karen Swallow Prior
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, featuring an original introduction by Karen Swallow Prior
Publications and Scholarly Work
• Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me (2012)