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John Dalton

John Dalton is the author of the novel Heaven Lake, winner of the Barnes and Noble 2004 Discover Award in fiction and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His second novel, The Inverted Forest, was published in 2011 and selected as a best book of the year by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Wall Street Journal - Book Lover. John is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He has held fellowships at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and The MacDowell Colony.


Book Publications: The Inverted Forest: a novel (Scribner, 2011)Heaven Lake: a novel (Scribner, 2004)

Journal Publications: Story, Western Humanities Review, Alaska Quarterly Review

Non-Fiction Publications: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Washington Post, Boulevard

heavenlake   invertedforest 

John Dalton Online: 

Visit the John Dalton author webpage
Read an excerpt from The Inverted Forest
Read an essay about struggling to write a first novel
Read an interview with John Dalton

Courses John Dalton Teaches:

Graduate Courses:
English 5110: Graduate Workshop in Fiction
English 5130: Graduate Workshop in the Novel
English 5170: Techniques, Methods, and Effects in Fiction
English 5190: Literary Journal Editing (Natural Bridge)
English 5200: MFA Readings
English 5950: 21st Century Fiction
English 6000: MFA Thesis

Undergraduate Courses:
English 2040: Introduction to the Writing of Fiction
English 3040: Fiction Writing Workshop: Narrative Techniques
English 4140: Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop

John Dalton on Teaching MFA Workshops

"The most valuable thing I can offer a workshop student is also the most practical: A lucid and critically objective assessment of what's working in the manuscript and what's not. To do this, I need to read and edit the story carefully and compose a written response. I understand from my own days as a student writer that it's an anxiety-provoking act to offer up a piece of writing for workshop. As a workshop instructor, I want my students to feel that their brightest achievements have been described and recognized. And I also want them to arrive at a clear and practical understanding of those elements within the story that are not yet working or need careful adjustment."

Recommended Novels and Story Collections

John's list of recommended books published since the start of the century: 
(*Indicates books that he has taught in his Techniques, Methods, and Effects in Fiction course, or his MFA Readings course.)

John's list of favorite classic books:

Contact Information

Office: 445 Lucas Hall


Phone: 314-516-5619

John Dalton, Associate Professor 
University of Missouri - St. Louis
One University Boulevard
St. Louis MO 63121