Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Author Karen Keilt: Overcoming the Past by Spreading Hope Today

by Cyrus Webb

Some events just seem like something out of a movie. One example of this is the inspiring story of Karen Keilt. She went from seemingly having it all to experiencing one of the darkest chapters of her life.

Through the experience came the book THE PARROT'S PERCH. It was 8 years ago that I was first told about Karen and her story through a mutual friend Andrea Chilcote, and after hearing some of what she had gone through I knew it was tailor-made for Conversations. Over the years we have stayed in touch, and she has become a regular guest on Conversations LIVE the radio show. In 2019 we met in person for the first time while in Chicago, and we discussed the journey and the re-release of her book THE PARROT'S PERCH by She Writes Press.

"It came about in an interesting way. I had moved on with my life, not wanting to tell anyone. One day in yoga one of my teacher's themes was about forgiveness. What she said was that forgiveness was about letting go of the hope that your past could ever be different. That resonated with me for several days. I realized that though I had gone on with my life I hadn't forgiven and gotten past the events of my life. I knew I had to tell the story."

"When I was 22 years old I was falsely arrested and imprisoned in Brazil where I grew up. Within a matter of hours my entire life was turned completely upside down. I was raped, my husband and I were beaten and tortured on a device called the Parrot's Perch."

"I believe the reason the story resonated with people is because torture and crime and corruption are extremely common in Brazil. Human rights violations are happening every day."

"I think that this matter is so important that people take a look at it. It needed to be told. I sent a copy to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and President Obama thanked me for the courage to tell my story. My hope is that something really positive can come from it.

"These events happened to me but don't define me. I consider myself very blessed that what happened did happen to me and that somehow I had the strength to come through it. There's a purpose for everything. I didn't know that I could come back from what happened. Now I have the strength and ability to help people to become more aware. I'm the one who found the voice to talk about it."

Karen's message for us is this: "I really believe that all of us have much more strength than we expect. There were many times when I didn't think I could get through this. My mom used to tell me 'This, too, shall pass.' That's important for all of us to know. We can get through whatever it is. "

To stay in touch with Karen and to get your own copy of her book The Parrot's Perch visit The book is also available on

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