University of Iowa

Thomas K. Dean

Thomas K. Dean (Ph.D., The University of Iowa) is Senior Presidential Writer/Editor at The University of Iowa, where he also teaches interdisciplinary courses. He has taught writing, literature, and interdisciplinary subjects at Cardinal Stritch College (Milwaukee), Michigan State University, and Moorhead State University (Minnesota). Dean’s essays appear in regional and national publications. His books include The Grace of Grass and Water: Writing in Honor of Paul Gruchow (edited collection, Ice Cube Press, 2007) and Under a Midland Sky (memoir/personal essays, Ice Cube Press, 2008). His collection of essays and photographs, tentatively called Prairie Eye, with co-author Cindy Crosby is expected from Ice Cube Press in 2018.

Instructor Events

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

Most writers want to write sentences that are clear and that communicate their intended meaning well. Certainly, that’s what editors look for. This doesn’t mean that we must write in the same style, but the sentences we create should be clear and have a strong impact on the reader. Much of a writer’s creativity lies in his or her talent at choosing and arranging words imaginatively. But much of your style also depends on some technicalities about what kind of word forms you choose and where you put them in your sentences.

One of the most common questions memoir and personal essay writers have is how to structure writing about life experience. An easy answer is to start from the beginning and write down events in chronological order. That can work, but writers of all experience levels know there is more to it—that telling one’s story involves more than a mere list of events. Life writing also must have drama and meaning.