Alma Katsu

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Alma Katsu
Alma Katsu
BornAlma Katsu
(1959-11-29) November 29, 1959 (age 59)
Fairbanks, Alaska, US
OccupationAuthor, novelist, writer
GenreParanormal Romance, Historical Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Dark Fantasy
Notable worksThe Taker, The Reckoning, The Descent

Alma Katsu (born 1959) is an American writer of adult fiction. Her best-known work is The Taker,[1] a literary novel with historical and fantasy elements that was published in 2011 and recognized as one of the ten best debut novels of the year by the American Library Association.[2] Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages,[3][4][5] the United Kingdom,[6][7] Brazil,[8] Spain and Italy.[9]

She has also had a 29-year career in the US federal government working in a number of positions dealing with intelligence and foreign policy, with an emphasis on technology issues. Since 2012 she has worked as a senior policy analyst for the RAND Corporation.[10]


Katsu was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, the daughter of an American-born father and a Japanese-born mother. She spent the majority of her youth living near Concord, Massachusetts, to which she attributes her interest in the early American history featured in her novels.[11] She attended Brandeis University[12] (BA in literature and writing, 1981) where she studied with novelist John Irving[13] and children's book author Margaret Rey,[14] and the Johns Hopkins University[15] (MA in Fiction, 2004). She is also an alumna of the Squaw Valley writers workshops.[16]


Katsu's novels are generally cited for the quality of the prose[17] and the ability to portray a supernatural setting in an immediate and realistic way (“makes the supernatural seem possible” – Publishers Weekly[18] and "renews a genre... tragedy without..the hyperbole of high romance"—Locus Magazine[19]). The first novel in the trilogy, The Taker, is set primarily in the past but has a present-day narrative as a frame,

Viewed as another literary take on the Faustian bargain and a model of setting stories-within-stories,[20] The Taker Trilogy tells the story of a young woman who has been given eternal life but comes to see this condition as a punishment for evil acts she perpetrated in life and is now condemned to revisit until the end of time.

Personal life[edit]

She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband musician Bruce Katsu.



  • The Taker, Gallery Books, 2011 (ISBN 9781439197059)
  • The Reckoning, Gallery Books, 2012 (ISBN 9781451651805)
  • The Descent, Gallery Books, 2014 (ISBN 9781451651829)
  • The Hunger, Transworld, March 2018 (ISBN 9781473542419)

Short stories[edit]

  • The Witch Sisters, 2013 (ASIN B008N1YHPM)
  • The Marriage Price, 2012 (ASIN B00B0QITYC)
  • The Devil's Scribe, Gallery Books, 2012 (ASIN B006VFZPNU)
  • Pipefitter's Union, in anthology Enhanced Gravity, Paycock Press (ISBN 0931181208)


The Taker was named one of the ten best debut novels of 2011[2] by Booklist[21] magazine, the publication of the American Library Association. The second novel, The Reckoning, was nominated for several year-end awards including Goodreads Readers Choice Award for best paranormal fantasy[22] and RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award for best paranormal romance.[23]


  1. ^ Hand, Elizabeth (2011-12-27). "Alma Katsu's 'The Taker'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  2. ^ a b "Top 10 First Novels: 2011, by Donna Seaman - Booklist Online". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  3. ^ "BEA Show Daily 2011: At Gallery- A One-Woman Show". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  4. ^ "The Big Books of BEA 2011: Adult Titles". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  5. ^ "The New (Para) Normal". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "Supernatural debut for Cornerstone - The Bookseller". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  7. ^ "Entertainment reviews: 14 April". April 14, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  8. ^ "Alma Katsu - Autores no SKOOB". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  9. ^ ""Ecco come passare dalla Cia ai romanzi gotici"". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  10. ^ "RAND Corporation Provides Objective Research Services and Public Policy Analysis". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  11. ^ Former Beacon reporter publishes a novel, Margaret Smith, September 29, 2011, The Beacon newspapers, Archived March 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "College of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  13. ^ "John Irving: Official Website". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Keene, Ann T. (October 1, 2008). "Rey, Margret (1906-1996), writer". Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.1603540. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  15. ^ "Fiction at Hopkins - Advanced Academic Programs - Johns Hopkins University". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ "Taker, by Alma Katsu - Booklist Online". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  18. ^ "Fiction Book Review: The Taker by Alma Katsu. S&S/Gallery, $25 (448p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9705-9". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  19. ^ "January 2012 Table of Contents". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  20. ^ One Super(natural) Debut, Carolyn Cooke, Surrey Now newspaper, October 6, 2011, Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Book Review Site for Librarians in Public Libraries and School Libraries - Booklist Online". Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  22. ^ "Announcing the Goodreads Choice Winner in Best Paranormal Fantasy!". Goodreads. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  23. ^ "RT Award Nominees & Winners". Retrieved October 28, 2018.

External links[edit]