Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Katherine Shonk  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: 1968 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Katherine Shonk on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Katherine was born in Chicago and raised in Evanston. She currently lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Shonk attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There, she studied psychology and began writing short stories. After graduating, she worked as a secretary and an editor in the Chicago area for several years. In late 1995, she moved to Moscow for a year. After returning to the United States, Shonk entered the M.A. program in creative writing at the University of Texas. After returning to Evanston in 1999, she worked long-distance as an editor and researcher for Harvard Business School.

Published Works

  • The Red Passport, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003
  • You Can't Enlarge the Pie: Six Barriers to Effective Government, 2001 co-authored with Max H. Bazerman and Jonathan Baron
  • Happy Now?, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2010

Selected Titles At Your Library

The red passport /
ISBN: 0374248478. OCLC Number:

Farrar, Straus and Giroux,. New York :. 2003.

"The unpredictable, poignant, and often comic stories that make up Katherine Shonk's The Red Passport portray the tumult, hopes, and setbacks of natives and foreigners alike in post-Communist Russia. Many of the Russians in these stories are strangers in their own country, learning to navigate a new landscape of Dunkin' Donuts franchises that flourish where consumer culture was so recently anathema; where the fall of the Soviet Union has not brought peace or prosperity; and where people still find a way to reach out for love, despite often disastrous results. "My Mother's Garden" is a parable of broken promises - an old woman living near Chernobyl does not understand why she can't eat those lovely, robust onions, better than any she's grown. "Our American" tells the story of a thirteen-year-old boy who watches with fascination and dread as his older brother, a veteran of the Chechen war, pursues the American girl next door. "The Young People of Moscow" describes an extraordinary day in the life of an aging couple selling Soviet poetry in an underground bazaar. A former American expatriate returns to Russia in "The Conversion" and, like a bull in a china shop, makes a mess of things with a young Russian couple who had once been his friends."--Jacket.

You can't enlarge the pie :
ISBN: 0465006310. OCLC Number:

Basic Books,. New York :. ©2001.

"When they learn how to negotiate and solve problems, students in management schools are taught two things. First, they are to look for and recognize any cognitive biases that may be affecting their own decisions about possible solutions. Second, in any disagreement, they are to seek out "wise tradeoffs": resolutions that minimize the costs and maximize the gains for all parties. Current and future executives are trained to craft agreements that create value by enlarging the pie of resources available, and to avoid the pitfalls that reduce organizational effectiveness."

Happy now? /
ISBN: 0374281432. OCLC Number:

Farrar, Straus and Giroux,. New York :. ©2010.

Follows a woman's chaotic and often tragicomic journey through the weeks that follow her husband's suicide on Valentine's Day.


The Red Passport

  • Society of Midland Authors Book Award, Honorable Mention for Adult Fiction, 2004
  • Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Shonk is available for readings and book club meetings in the Chicago area. Please send questions or requests to