Lisa Dale Norton

E-mail: lisa@lisadalenorton.com
Website: http://www.lisadalenorton.com

I am a specialist in narrative nonfiction. My book Shimmering Images: A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir, is America’s go-to memoir handbook. My book of literary nonfiction Hawk Flies Above: Journey to the Heart of the Sandhills combines natural history and memoir and earned comparisons to the writing of Annie Dillard. Both books are published by St. Martin’s Press.

Academic positions held include, among others, Augustana College, where I ran the Journalism Program and taught writing in the English Department, and UCLA where I served on the creative writing faculty.

I currently serve as an editor and developmental writing consultant working with writers completing manuscripts for publication. I strive to lead each writer to his or her next level of skill, comprehension, and personal development, and to write a damn good book—that will sell.

I speak regularly at conferences and arts centers nationwide. People tell me they find my presentations not only full of pristine information about the art and craft of writing, but inspiring invitations to live more fully via the transformative power of memoir.

I am passionate about narrative, the art and craft of writing, and the power of personal stories to reshape lives.


Forthcoming: A Great Romance, literary nonfiction.

Shimmering Images: A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir, Griffin/St. Martin’s Press, Tradepaper. 2008.

Hawk Flies Above: Journey to the Heart of the Sandhills, Picador USA/St. Martin’s Press, Hardcover and Tradepaper. 1996/1997

Work in the Worlds of Writing & Academia

Freelance Editor, work with nonfiction and fiction writers completing manuscripts for publication. Teach writing, advise on all aspects of writing and publishing, read and analyze manuscripts, complete substantive and line edits, advise on and guide revision processes and publishing decisions. Have worked with hundreds of writers in United States and overseas. Specialty: Narrative nonfiction and literary fiction. 1995-present.

Public Speaker/Teacher, present lectures, teach workshops and classes, lead discussions, moderate panels focusing on the art, craft, and business of writing and publishing. Extended list of engagements. Click here to view. 1995-present.

Blogger, The Huffington Post, Author & Story Expert. Blog about the power of story. Click here for archive. 2008-present.

Creative Writing faculty, UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, University of California, Los Angeles, CA. Taught creative nonfiction and memoir classes both online and on the ground. 2003-2009


Adjunct Creative Writing faculty, English Department, Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ. Taught creative writing classes. 2003-2009

Founder & Director, Neahkahnie Institute, Manzanita, OR. Founded and directed institute that sponsored creative writing workshops and The Onion Peak Reading Series. Taught creative nonfiction and fiction writing. Led manuscript critique workshops. Responsible for hiring writers, planning/staging events, marketing/public relations, fund-raising, budgeting, and business planning. Booked nationally-recognized authors as well as local emerging writers. Calendars included workshops and readings by Diana Abu-Jaber, Lois Baker, Kim Barnes, Sheila Bender, James Bertolino, Robin Cody, John Daniel, Tracy Daugherty, Gary Ferguson, J.A. Jance, George Keithley, Edna Kovacs, Craig Lesley, Judith Massee, Jann Mitchell, Robert Michael Pyle, Carlos Reyes, Joanna Rose, Clem Starck, Susan Tweit, Donna K. Wright, M.K. Wren, and others. 1994-2001

Lecturer, Department of English, Portland State University, Portland, OR. Taught graduate and undergraduate creative writing. 1997

Instructor, Department of English, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR. Taught fiction writing, literature, and humanities. 1994

Instructor, Department of English, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL. Taught composition and essay writing classes in English Department and news reporting and writing, literary journalism, and nonfiction writing classes in Journalism Program, including seminars linked with the Women’s Studies Program. Designed and managed state-of-art student desktop publishing lab and darkroom. Created new publication, The Big Picture, which served as forum for nonfiction writing classes. 1988-1993


Post-graduate: Fiction Writing, UCLA. 2003-2009
Post-graduate: Fiction Writing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA. 1988-90
Studied with: David Borofka, Liz Carpenter, Jim Crumley, Dan Jaffe, Galway Kinnell, Bill Kittredge, Craig Lesley, Caroline Leavitt, Gary Miranda, Kim Stafford, Terry Tempest Williams. 1987-present

M.A., Journalism. Creative nonfiction thesis: One Horse Town, creative nonfiction story exploring waning Western town and Hungry Horse Saloon in Sandhills region of Nebraska as hub of community life, University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Iowa City, IA. 1986. Project became genesis of book with St. Martin’s Press: Hawk Flies Above.

B.A., Music. Thesis: Critics, Criticism and Criteria, investigated traditions of music criticism in 19th and 20th centuries. Looked at criteria used to govern artistic evaluation. Emphasized musical originality, personal taste, restrictions of journalism, Reed College, Portland, OR. 1980. Work led to career as arts critic for regional and national newspapers and magazines.

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