University of Iowa

Lon Otto

Lon Otto (Ph.D., Indiana University) published his third collection of stories in fall 2015—A Man in Trouble, from Brighthorse Books. His previously published books are A Nest of Hooks (University of Iowa Press), winner of the Iowa School of Letters Award for Short Fiction; Cover Me (Coffee House Press); and the craft e-book Grit: Bringing Physical Reality into Imaginative Writing (Writers Workshop Press). His writing in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry is in many anthologies, including The Pushcart Prize (Pushcart Press), American Fiction (New Rivers Press), Flash Fiction and Flash Fiction Forward (W.W. Norton), Blink and Blink Again (Spout Press), Townships (University of Iowa Press), and Not Normal, Illinois (Indiana U. Press), and in the craft text Best Words, Best Order (St. Martin’s Press). Several of his stories have been broadcast on NPR’s Selected Shorts. He is professor emeritus at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he taught literature and creative writing for many years.

Instructor Events

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Lon Otto

Without fretting over the boundaries separating these closely related genres, the class will focus on learning and putting into practice principles that allow extremely short narrative works to achieve great emotional, imaginative, and sensory power. Reading as a writer (itself a rewarding and essential activity), you will explore the techniques involved in a variety of published very short narratives in different genres.

Weeklong June 16 to June 21 2019
Instructor(s): 
Lon Otto

As challenging as the completion of a draft is, the work of significant revision that follows can be equally daunting. This is not a matter of light housekeeping—dusting, polishing, tidying up. Very rarely that’s all a draft needs; normally something bigger needs to happen before a substantial piece of writing achieves its full potential. Walls might need to be knocked down and rebuilt, new powerlines connected, skylights opened up.

Weekend June 22 to June 23 2019
Instructor(s): 
Lon Otto

This weekend workshop focuses on the challenges and resources of writing about childhood experience. (Childhood, for our purposes, runs from a person’s earliest memories to the threshold of young adulthood.) We will read published fiction, creative nonfiction, and poems that involve a child’s perspective, and we will explore the advantages and liabilities of various narrative points of view. We will use these insights to ask constructive questions about writing being worked on by members of the class.