University of Iowa

Wayne Johnson

Wayne Johnson (M.F.A., Iowa Writer’s Workshop) is the author of nine books: five novels, a collection of stories, a memoir, and two nonfiction works. Three of his books have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, two have been New York Times Notable Books of the Year, one a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers Series and finalist for Book of the Year, and another a Kansas City Star Book of the Year. His awards include a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford, a Yaddo residency, and a Chesterfield Writers’ Film Project Fellowship. Wayne has worked in Hollywood, where two of his screenplays were optioned, and two of his most recent screenplays were selected as Sundance Best Picture finalists. Wayne has new books forthcoming and in development. Visit him online at



Instructor Events

Weekend July 14 to July 15 2018

All of us encounter dramas in life that seem tailor-made for narrative. But when sitting down to pen such seeming “ready-mades,” we often find that they don’t come to life, drag, or simply seem to lose their once-brilliant shine when committed to paper. So, we ask, how do writers such as Bill Bryson, Jon Krakauer, and Sebastian Junger write such engaging narratives? Or Tobias Wolff, Mary Karr, and Jeannette Walls?

Weeklong July 15 to July 20 2018

You’ve been working on this thing long? Months? Years? It’s supposed to look like a novel, but now that you’ve got it in front of you, it looks more like a six-legged cow or a bus with wings. You’ve begun to wonder what, exactly, a “novel” is. Maybe you’re not writing one. You might be writing a cycle-of-stories-as-novel, or a faux memoir, or a “modular” novel with some unifying structural element. In this class, we’ll look at ways of structuring novel-length narratives to create a variety of fully-engaging, satisfying works.