Lance Olsen

Lance Olsen (born October 14, 1956) is an American writer known for his experimental, lyrical, fragmentary, cross-genre narratives that question the limits of historical knowledge.

Lance Olsen was born in New Jersey. He received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1978, honors, Phi Beta Kappa), an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (1980), and an M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. (1985) from the University of Virginia. For ten years he taught as associate and then full professor at the University of Idaho; for two he directed the University of Idaho’s M.F.A. program. He has also taught at the University of Iowa, the University of Virginia, the University of Kentucky, on summer and semester-abroad programs in Oxford and London, on a Fulbright in Turku, Finland, and at various writing conferences. Since 2007 he has taught experimental narrative theory and practice at the University of Utah.[1] From 2002 to 2018, he served as Chair of the Board of Directors at Fiction Collective Two,[2] or FC2; founded in 1974, FC2 is one of America’s best-known ongoing literary experiments and progressive art communities. He was Fiction Editor at Western Humanities Review from 2007 to 2013. He served as Director of Creative Writing at the University of Utah from 2018 to 2019. Olsen’s wife, assemblage-artist Andi Olsen, and he divide their time between the mountains of central Idaho and Salt Lake City.

Books in order of publication:




  • There (Fort Wayne, Indiana: Anti-Oedipus Press, 2014)
  • In Memoriam to Postmodernism: Essays on the Avant-Pop, co-edited with Mark Amerika (SDSU Press, 1995)
  • Lolita: A Janus Text (NY: Twayne, 1995)
  • Surfing Tomorrow: Essays on the Future of American Fiction (Prairie Village: Potpourri, 1995), editor
  • William Gibson (Mercer Island, WA: Starmont House, 1992)
  • Circus of the Mind in Motion: Postmodernism and the Comic Vision (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990)
  • Ellipse of Uncertainty: An Introduction to Postmodern Fantasy (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1987)

Short story collections

  • How to Unfeel the Dead: New & Selected Fictions (Toronto: Teksteditions, 2014)
  • Hideous Beauties (Portland, OR: Eraserhead, 2003)
  • Sewing Shut My Eyes (Normal/Tallahassee: Fiction Collective Two/Black Ice, 2000)
  • Scherzi, I Believe (La Grande, OR: Wordcraft, 1994)
  • My Dates With Franz (Amherst, MA: Bluestone Press, 1993)
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