~ Welcome ~


I appreciate your visit here.  This site should give you some idea about my writing, my photography and my teaching.  If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


~ Writing ~

I have the good fortune to be the author of twelve books of narrative nonfiction–mostly travel essays and airplane journeys.  Few things bring me more joy than being on the road somehow, on the way to someplace new.  My curiosity has always been focused on the act of travel more than the places I wind up.  Call them motion essays, perhaps.  Most of the writing, before filling pages in a book, found their first readings in literary journals.  Here is a link to one of my favorites.



On the Act of Arrival



A good bit of my work goes beyond the travel essay, however.  I write for The Forum (the local newspaper for the Fargo, North Dakota area), and several aviation magazines such as AOPA Pilot, Plane & Pilot, Flight Training, and others.  I also write book reviews and criticism for places like Frames Magazine, LensCulture.com and the Minneapolis Star/Tribune.




If you are interested in purchasing any of my books, please visit your local independent bookseller.  If that’s not an option, however, most of the books are available from Amazon.  Here is a link: W. Scott Olsen





~ Photography ~

My interest in photography, beyond a simple documentation of events, began as a practice of taking “photo-notes” for my writing.  It was a lot easier for me to take a picture of something on the road than to stand there and try to describe it accurately on paper.  Over time, these photo-notes started to take on their own artistic quality and I began to take photography more intentionally.  My work is almost always serendipitous. The thrill of discovery, the chase of a fleeting moment–these are the elements that appeal to me.  What little portraiture I attempt is influenced by the moodiness of film noir.

My work has been selected as book covers, magazine covers, illustrations for magazine articles, etc.  Work has been shown at the Praxis Gallery in Minneapolis as well as sites curated by The Arts Partnership in Fargo/Moorhead. Forthcoming gallery shows are scheduled at the Kaddatz Gallery in Fergus Falls and elsewhere.

I have recently opened a web site dedicated to my photography.  You can find it here.  I hope you get a chance to check it out!


~ Teaching ~


I have been teaching in the English Department of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, since 1987.  I teach primarily nonfiction writing courses, from first year composition to the nonfiction seminars to feature writing and advanced reporting.  I also have the good fortune to teach what we call an Inquiry Seminar for first year students.  The theme of my course is Adventure, Exploration & Risk.  Over the years, a few videos have been made either from or about that class, and it’s a joy to share them here.







Along with short form articles, reviews and feature journalism, I am at work on a project called Scenes from a Moving Window.  This is a book-length project that narrates my trip around the country on Amtrak.  I rode from Fargo to Seattle to Los Angeles to New Orleans to New York to Chicago and then back to Fargo.  The book will be half text and half photography.  I hope to make a gallery show out of the images as well.

The book is being released in serial form, one new chapter each month, as a blog.

You can find it here.

Thanks for visiting.  If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch.


Full speed.

W. Scott Olsen

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