Karen Pittelman

Karen Pittelman writes sad country songs, poetry, and non-fiction on privilege, power, and philanthropy.

She is a singer-songwriter for the queer country band Karen & the Sorrows, and has been featured in Rolling Stone, The AV Club, and No Depression which said, “Pittelman peels away the superficiality that much of country music has embraced and looks deep into its soul, its history, and its stories and makes it all her own.” Her most recent release is the EP Why Do We Want What We Want.

She is the author of Classified: How to Stop Hiding Your Privilege and Use It for Social Change, and co-founder of community-led funds Chahara Foundation and Trans Justice Funding Project. She continues to write about philanthropy, and is currently at work on a book called A Ceremony for the End of Philanthropy.

Her poetry has been published in journals including Breakwater Review, Bodega, Sunday SalonKeyhole, Machine DreamsNew World Writing, The Pinch, and New South.

For over 10 years, she has helped to build a growing queer country community, running the Gay Ole Opry Festival and the Queer Country Quarterly, and creating space for people who love country music even if country music doesn’t always love them back. She also writes about the relationship between country music and white supremacy—and what we can do about it.

She has worked as a writing coach for fifteen years, and loves to help people bring their writing into the world.