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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Author Brianna Karp Blogged Her Way Out of Homelessness

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Brianna Karp lived in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot.
  • Brianna Karp lived in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot.

You might be weary of the typical young memoirist who suffers some unimaginable hardship, like a high-level internship, only to lose it all, gain a publisher and a development deal, and sail into microfame. Nonetheless, we're quivering: The Girl's Guide to Homelessness is a very good book. To write it, Brianna Karp, who appears Wednesday at Book Passage, first went through the homelessness mentioned in the title. In her case, last-resort lodging took the form of a travel trailer in a Walmart parking lot, where the 24-year-old lived after losing her executive assistant job and running out of money.

After her blog took off -- what, you wouldn't blog about that? -- Karp's fortunes improved, and she appeared on CNN. She became a homeless activist. She wrote her book. And in April, on the heels of Girl's Guide getting a good review from the well-respected Kirkus, Margaret Atwood penned a tweet: "Reading Brianna Karp, The Girl's Guide to Homelessness, chewed ends of fingers, parents from hell!"

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That resulted in a shocked, humbled, and hopeful blog post from Karp, which included the lines, "It makes me feel, just for a few fleeting minutes, that perhaps I'm not a 'Snooki.' Maybe I really could be -- am? -- a writer."

New media rule: When Atwood tweets your book, you're a writer.

Brianna Karp appears in conversation with Tony DuShane at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, at Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building (at Embarcadero). Admission is free.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section.

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Michael Leaverton

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