About Me


I do a lot of things: writing, teaching, consulting. You may be wondering: Does this Katie person have a life?

Well, first of all, I love the work I do—and it’s a very big part of my life—but, yes, I have other interests too. Thanks for asking!

Photo: Carter Hasegawa

Here are some things I love:

My cats. They come first, always. Take a look at them, and you’ll know why:


Ella (Fitzgerald) and Dinah (Washington) are sisters and basically exactly like my characters Callie and Tess, except Callie hides her jealousy much better than Dinah.

My neighborhood. I have lived in Boston’s Jamaica Plain for my entire adult life. I never get tired of the lovely old homes, the trees, the festivals, the parks. I’ve solved many story problems on runs around Jamaica Pond.


FOOD. Cooking it, eating it, talking about it, coming up with elaborate menus. Food is my secret muse.


Music. I love to be swept away by soaring notes and inventive lyrics. I’m especially fond of bittersweet ballads, soul with a beat, and anything involving choreography. When I’m in the mood to have my heart cracked wide, my go-to is fado. For a night on the dance floor, it’s salsa or funk.

Here’s a song to make you cry.

And one to make you dance.

And another just because.

OK, one more.

I’m going to stop after this one, I swear.

Travel, history, languages, humans, politics, the world. That’s a lot of things! But all related, don’t you think? I love exploring where we come from, how we all connect, why injustice happens (over and over), and how we can do better going forward. You can probably tell from my taste in music that I’m especially drawn to the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking diaspora. I’ve officially spent time on every continent, except Antarctica. I have so much more to see and learn.

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Books Books Books. I don’t know where I’d be without great stories. Here are a handful that have played an outsized role in my writing life:

  • The House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros)
  • In the Time of the Butterflies (Julia Alvarez)
  • Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson)
  • How to Say Goodbye in Robot (Natalie Standiford)
  • The Farming of Bones (Edwidge Danticat)
  • Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

And here are a few authors I’d chase to the ends of the earth for a glimpse of their grocery lists:

Sara Zarr * Benjamin Alire Saenz * Jandy Nelson * Francisco X Stork * Edwidge Danticat
Jaclyn Moriarty * E Lockhart * Tana French * Louise Erdrich * Celeste Ng * AS King
Nina LaCour * Rita Williams-Garcia * Meg Medina * Laura Ruby

Murder. My other favorite kinds of stories are the twisty murderous ones on TV. Among those, I’m especially fond of the lady detective variety (cozy, nosey, or hard-boiled—I love ‘em all). My favorite lady detectives: Veronica Mars, Sarah Linden (The Killing), Mma Ramotswe (#1 Ladies Detective Agency), Dana Scully (The X Files), Jessica Jones, Annika Bengtzon, Annalise Keating (How to Get Away with Murder), Phryne Fisher (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries).

The Official Bio

(in case cat pics and lady detectives aren’t your thing)

(seriously, though, did you see my cats?)

Short version

When Katie Bayerl isn’t penning stories, she coaches teens and nonprofits to tell theirs. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has taught creative writing in schools and a variety of community settings. She currently leads the VCFA Young Writers Network and teaches classes for teens at GrubStreet. Katie has an incurable obsession with saints, bittersweet ballads, and murder. A Psalm for Lost Girls (spring 2017, Putnam) is her first novel.

Long version

Katie fell in love with books before she can remember and with teaching when she was just a teen. The writing books for teens part came a bit later. She jumped right in and hasn’t looked back.

Katie has degrees in education from Brown, teaching from Tufts, and writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has worked as editor of a teen-generated magazine, led the communications efforts of a Boston nonprofit, and helped hundreds of writers and nonprofit leaders tell their stories. She currently leads the VCFA Young Writers Network and teaches creative writing at GrubStreet. Katie is a winner of the PEN New England/Susan P Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award and was honored to serve as the 2018 Michael L Printz Author in Residence (Topeka, KS) and the 2018 Lois Lowry Fellow (West Roxbury, MA). Her debut young adult novel, A Psalm for Lost Girls (Putnam 2017) was named a top pick from Amazon, Book-a-Million, and the Romantic Times, a “can’t miss” by Boston Magazine, and a 2019 TAYSHAS selection by the Texas Library Association.

Media: Download bio, high-resolution images, and author Q&A here.