Lance Olsen was born in 1956 and received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin (1978, honors), his M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers Workshop (1980), and his M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. (1985) from the University of Virginia. He is author of thirteen novels, one hypertext, six nonfiction works, five short-story collections, a poetry chapbook, and two anti-textbooks about innovative writing, as well as 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, including Conjunctions, Black Warrior Review, Fiction International, Iowa Review, Hotel Amerika, Village Voice, Time Out New York, BOMB, Gulf Coast, McSweeney's, and Best American Non-Required Reading. Olsen is a Guggenheim and an N.E.A. fellowship recipient; winner of the Berlin Prize, Berlin Artist-in-Residence grant, and a Pushcart; and former governor-appointed Idaho Writer-in-Residence.
His novel Tonguing the Zeitgeist was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award. His work has been translated into German, Italian, Polish, Turkish, Finnish, and Portuguese. He has taught at the University of Idaho, the University of Kentucky, the University of Iowa, the University of Virginia, on summer- and semester-abroad programs in Oxford and London, on a Fulbright in Finland, at various writing conferences, and elsewhere. Olsen currently teaches experimental narrative theory and practice at the University of Utah. He serves as Chair of the Board of Directors at Fiction Collective Two; founded in 1974, FC2 is one of America's best-known ongoing literary experiments and progressive art communities. With his wife, assemblage-artist and filmmaker Andi Olsen, he divides his time between Salt Lake City and the mountains of central Idaho.