Author of Café Babanussa, published by HarperCollins Publishers.
Karen Hill was born in Newmarket, Ontario, and grew up in Toronto. After graduating from the University of Ottawa, she moved in 1979 to West Berlin, where she stayed for nearly a decade. She returned to Toronto, where she raised her daughter, Malaika. Karen wrote poetry, practised the visual arts, worked as an adult educator and spoke four languages. Like her parents, Daniel and Donna Hill, and her siblings, Lawrence and Dan, she wrote with passion and felt deeply about issues of gender, race and culture. Karen Hill also struggled throughout her life with bipolar disorder. She worked for more than twenty years on Café Babanussa, which she had finished and was showing to publishers when she died in 2014.
In my family, the incidence of mental health problems runs high. My mother and her twin sister are both bipolar. On my father's side, one of my aunts was bipolar and two of my cousins are schizophrenic. While some people dispute the idea that mental illness can be hereditary -- and I, too, believe in the importance of social and environmental causes -- you can nonetheless see that the odds were pretty high that someone else in my immediate family might get hit over the head with it, too
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