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Dennis M. Clausen

Professor, English

Dennis M. Clausen, PhD, has been a member of the University of San Diego faculty since 1972. Clausen has taught undergraduate American literature courses with a special emphasis on authors who write about American small towns.

Education

Ph.D., University of California, Riverside; English and American Literature (1972) 
M.A., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; American Studies (1967)
B.A., University of Minnesota, Morris; English and American Literature (1965)

Scholarly and Creative Work

Clausen's novel, Ghost Lover, published by Bantam Books in 1982, became a best-selling paperback original. Publisher's Weekly (February 12, 1982) described the novel as an expertly written thriller . . . that beautifully evokes the feeling of a small town dying” its buildings, its streets and, most of all, its lost souls. His textbook, The Concise Process Handbook, was published by McGraw-Hill Book Company in 1986 and was one of the first textbooks that used humor to teach the principles of English style and grammar.  His book, Prairie Son, was the recipient of the Mid-List Press Creative Nonfiction Award in 1997. Prairie Son was nominated for The Robert F. Kennedy Book Awards; the Associated Writing Program Award Series; the Minnesota Book Awards; the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and other awards. Prairie Son was also selected by the editorial staff of Minnesota Magazine (July/August 1999) as one of five favorite books written by University of Minnesota faculty and alumni from 1998-1999. Screenwriting and Literature, a book scheduled for publication in 2010, explores the relationships between screenwriting and other forms of creative writing and literature. The Sins of Rachel Sims, a novel inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, was a semifinalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Clausen is also working on a memoir titled Goodbye to Main Street, and he has been writing a free-lance newspaper column for several years.

Teaching Interests

Clausen has taught courses in American literature, screenwriting, creative writing and introductory writing. He has also worked for many years with students who come from disadvantaged academic and/or family backgrounds.