Bio & Awards

Author Kari Grady Grossman’s life has been anything but planned or ordinary. Born in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1968, Kari grew up in Arcade, N.Y., pop. about 10,000. While studying television writing at Syracuse University, Kari wrote a screenplay about a murder in her hometown. Her manuscript so enthralled a professor that he took it to his agent who immediately signed Kari up for representation.

With dreams of becoming a Hollywood screenplay writer, Kari set off for Los Angeles in her sky blue Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme after graduating in 1990. She learned quickly that Hollywood can be fickle. Her screenplay was sidelined while another film about the same murder was made for TV starring Elizabeth Montgomery. Midway cross-country on her road trip, the budding writer took a detour into Colorado ski country—and stayed for three years.

While working as a photographer at the Breckenridge Ski Resort, Kari met her future husband George Grossman, also a photographer. The two set off in 1991 on bikes—despite the fact that Kari hadn’t ridden since age 11—to take pictures in Alaska. After another year of dividing time between Colorado’s snowy peaks and Alaska’s summer splendor, the couple moved to Jackson, Wyo., where they founded the Great Outdoors Photography Company in 1993.

The Grady Grossmans quickly gained a reputation as topnotch wildlife photographers, tracking wolves and eagles among other creatures. The couple also took on increasingly challenging mountaineering treks, including up Cotapaxi in Equador. In 1998, after selling their photography company, Kari turned her focus to writing and was sent to Nome, Alaska, to cover the Iditarod for Discovery Channel Online. In 2000, Discovery sent Kari to the Mount Everest base camp for nine weeks to cover a women’s ascent.

Meanwhile, Kari and her husband had become serious about having children, only to discover that Mother Nature had other plans. By 2000, the couple had begun an adoption process in Cambodia, a country that they could hardly place on a map at the time. That soon changed.

Taken by the country where their son Grady was born, the couple created a school in 2001 “near the highest mountain in Cambodia because that seemed to suit us.” They were determined to help make a positive change in a country devastated by the torturous reign of the Khmer Rouge. The Grady Grossman School now educates 485 students through sixth grade, with more students hoping to enroll. Kari was compelled to write Bones That Float to tell her story about adopting her son and the profound changes that journey had on her life. The book was published by Wild Heaven Press in 2007. A portion of the proceeds from that book will go to support the Grady Grossman School.

Now a resident of Fort Collins, Colorado, Kari is at work on a book about India, the homeland of her second adopted child, daughter Shanti.