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 include Augustana College, where I developed the Journalism Program and taught writing in the English Department, and UCLA where I taught narrative nonfiction classes as part of the creative writing faculty.

I currently serve as an independent editor and developmental writing consultant working with writers completing manuscripts for publication. My gift is an ability to analyze and translate story problems and to teach solutions to those problems.

I speak at conferences and arts organizations nationwide. People report my presentations deliver pristine information about writing and inspire them to live more fully via a well made personal story.

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


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 1996/Tradepaper 1997.

Writing & Teaching

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. Specialties: Narrative nonfiction, standard nonfiction, 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. 1995-present. Click here to view.

Blogger, The Huffington Post, Author & Story Expert. Blog about the power of story. Click here for archive. 2008-2017.

Creative Writing faculty, UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, University of California, Los Angeles, CA. Taught narrative nonfiction 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 writing. Led 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 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 (University of California, Los Angeles, CA). 2003-2009; 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.

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.