Karina Zelaya was born and raised in Usulután, El Salvador and moved to California at the age of 13. She loves to travel, and visited or lived in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Brazil, Mexico, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Dr. Zelaya earned a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of California, Davis. She has an M.A. in Spanish and Latin American Literature from the University of California, Davis and a B.A. in English (Culture Studies) from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Her research interests include Central American cultural production from the late 19th century to the present, Latin American Cultural Studies, literary and visual representations of popular myths and Chicana/o/Latina/o literature in the US. Her recent publications include a co-edition of vol. 9 of the literary journal Brújula and an article on Francisco Gavidia in the Revista Estudios of the Universidad de Costa. She is currently researching the writings of Salvadoran writers Miguel Ángel Espino, Salarrué, and Claudia Lars.