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Karl Schoenberger is a San Francisco Bay Area author and journalist. His most recent work is My Life as a Cadaver: A Survivor’s Tale (Osiris Press, 2013), a novel that contemplates death, disability and the joy of living. He wrote the non-fiction book Levi’s Children: Coming to Terms with Human Rights in the Global Marketplace (Grove-Atlantic Press, 2001), which explores failures in corporate social responsibly in the apparel trade. He currently is working on a collection of short stories.

Schoenberger wrote about politics, culture and economic development in Asia throughout his twenty-five years in journalism, working as a foreign correspondent based in Tokyo for the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, and in Hong Kong for Fortune magazine.


His most recent stint as a daily journalist was at the San Jose Mercury News, where he served as a roving Pacific Rim correspondent for the Mercury and for the Knight-Ridder News Service. Schoenberger received the Overseas Press Club’s Whitman Bassow Award  for Environmental Reporting in 2003 for his work in the Mercury on electronic waste dumping in China.

In the beginning of his career, working for the Hartford Courant in the mid-1980’s, he covered the hunt, capture and trial of Puerto Rican independence activists – so called terrorists – involved in a local armored car heist.

While based in Tokyo for the Journal and later for the LA Times he covered the rise of Japan’s economic juggernaut and the bursting of its financial bubble. In Seoul, he wrote about the fall of the military dictatorship in the late 80’s for the Times. He joined the team of Times correspondents covering the Tiananmen Square protests and crackdown in 1989. In Hong Kong he covered the colony’s handover to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 for Fortune.

After Hong Kong he was a teaching fellow at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and a visiting scholar at UC’s Human Rights Center, where he wrote the book Levi’s Children. Earlier in his career he was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in a mid-career fellowship for journalists.

Schoenberger graduated from Stanford University in 1976 with a degree in Japanese Language and Literature. He then attended Kyoto University on a Monbusho Scholarship, where he studied modern Japanese literature.  He did graduate work in communication at  Stanford in 1982 but abandoned his MA program to work for the AP in Japan.  Before journalism, Schoenberger was a social worker helping Vietnamese refugees in Oakland, a taxi driver in San Francisco and a struggling fiction writer. He has three daughters.