American Academy in Berlin Names U Professor as Fellow

Nov. 20, 2012 – The American Academy in Berlin has announced that Lance Olsen, professor of literature & creative writing for the University of Utah’s Department of English in the College of Humanities, is a recipient of its Berlin Prize fellowship for the spring 2013 term.

The Academy’s 15th class of fellows will pursue independent research projects while in residence at the Academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in Berlin.

Olsen, an author, is working on a novel about the earthwork artist Robert Smithson and Smithson’s fascination with decline, wearing down, entropy, not as a negative event, but as one imbued with beauty.

“I can’t begin to begin to articulate how grateful, humbled, and excited I am to imagine walking down the same halls as some of my literary heroes (Susan Howe, Anne Carson, Jeffrey Eugenides, Arthur Miller, and C. K. Williams among them) have recently,” Olsen said.

The Academy awards fellowships to Americans in the fields of arts, literature, humanities, politics, economics, law, and music. Usually twelve fellows are in residence for a five-month period in the late summer and fall each year, and twelve for a five-month period in the winter and spring. Lance Olsen the only author in residence in the spring.

The Berlin Prize affords Academy fellows time to pursue independent study and engage with their German counterparts and with Berlin’s vibrant academic, cultural and political life. The prize includes a monthly stipend, partial board, and residence at the Academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center. Most fellowships last for one academic semester and are entirely privately funded.

Lance Olsen is author of eleven novels, one new-media text, four critical studies, four short-story collections, and a textbook about fiction writing. He is also the editor of two collections of essays about innovative contemporary fiction. His short stories, essays, poems, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals, magazines, and anthologies.

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