Digressing with Lance Olsen

Lance Olsen is the author of Skin Elegies (Dzanc Books), and a smart, fascinating, and sweetheart of a guy who splits his time between Utah and Idaho with his artist wife Andi.

During our podcast, we talked about the landscape and ecology of writing that doesn’t come from the top-5 New York-based publishers, and how one goes about making a living as a writer who doesn’t depend on six- or seven-figure advances, movie rights, etc.

Lance also teaches creative writing, and has published fifteen novels, one hypermedia text, five nonfiction books, five short-story collections, a poetry chapbook, and two anti-textbooks about experimental writing.
His short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including, and I’m just cherry-picking here based on my own biases, Conjunctions, Fiction International, the Village Voice, BOMB, and McSweeney’s. He has garnered a Guggenheim fellowship, the Berlin Prize, a D.A.A.D. Artist-in-Berlin Residency, an N.E.A. Fellowship twice, and a Pushcart Prize. And again, that’s just the tip of the fellowship iceberg. Speaking of icebergs and fellowships, Lance was a Fulbright Scholar in Iceland, and currently teaches experimental narrative theory and practice at the University of Utah.

Other topics include the role of literary agents, his old leadership position with Fiction Collective 2 (FC2), and the function of universities and foundations as replacement for the medieval or Renaissance patron of the arts.    

We also talk about how writing is different from other art forms, and why we write (versus doing those other things). Give it a listen!

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