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Karen also known by her pen name Isak Dinesen was born at Rungstedlund in Denmark on 17th of April 1885 as the second child of Wilhelm and Ingeborg Dinesen’s five children. She came to Africa in 1914 to marry her half cousin and carry out dairy farming in the then British Colony of Kenya. Her husband had however changed his mind and wanted to farm coffee. Her uncle Aage Westenholz financed the farm and members of both families were share holders. The coffee farm did not do well, suffering various tragedies including factory fire and continuous bad harvest. After her divorce, Karen was left to run the financially troubled farm on her own, a daunting task for a woman of that generation.

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She fell in love with an English man, Denis Finch Hatton, and his death in Tsavo in 1930 coupled with the failed farming left Karen little choice but to return to Denmark. She turned to writing as a career following her departure from Africa and published to increasing acclaim such works as Seven Gothic Tales(1934) Out of Africa(1937) and Babette Feat (1950).  The picture above shows where she did most of her writing.

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She died on her family estate, Rungsted, in 1962 at the age of 77.

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