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Margaret Lazarus Dean

Margaret Lazarus Dean

Margaret Lazarus Dean

Lindsay Young Professor

210 McClung Tower
Phone: (865) 974-0899
Fax: (865) 974-6926


Professor Dean is the author of three books. The first, a novel, (The Time It Takes to Fall, Simon & Schuster, 2007) was the recipient of an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The second, (Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight, Graywolf Press, 2015), was winner of the Graywolf Nonfiction prize and was named one of the top ten books of 2015 by the New York Times. Most recently, she co-wrote Endurance (Knopf, 2017) with astronaut Scott Kelly. Endurance was a New York Times bestseller, was translated into twenty-three languages, and is being adapted into a feature film. Other work has appeared recently in Popular Mechanics, the Washington Post, Longreads, the Paris Review, the New Yorker, and in program notes for the National Theatre of London. Her research interests include contemporary fiction, contemporary creative nonfiction, screenwriting, creative writing pedagogy, gender studies, literature of disaster, and literature of spaceflight.

Professor Dean teaches fiction writing, creative nonfiction writing, and screenwriting. Recent courses include Writing Fiction (364), Advanced Fiction Writing (464), Writing Creative Nonfiction (369), Writing the Screenplay (365), Fiction Writing (580), and a special topics course on Literature of Disaster (UHC 257). She is a recipient of the Professional Promise in Research and Creative Achievement Award and the John C. Hodges Assistant Professor Teaching Award.


  • B.A. Wellesley College
  • M.F.A. University of Michigan


Representative Articles

  • How American Spaceflight Entered Its Era of Compromise,” Slate, August 9, 2022.
  • Astronauts Get Writers’ Block Too: an Interview with Scott Kelly,” New Yorker Elements, December 7, 2017.
  • Program Notes, National Theatre of London. Ugly Lies the Bone, March-June 2017.
  • “The Challenger Disaster: 30 Years Later” (cover story), Popular Mechanics, February 2016.
  • Well Aimed and Powerful,” Longreads, July 7, 2015.
  • A Brief History of Spacefarers.” Paris Review blog,, May 19, 2015.
  • “John Ray, Jr., PhD.” StoryQuarterly 46/47, February 2014.
  • “Warriors and Worriers: Risk, Masculinity, and the Anxiety of Individuality in the Literature of American Spaceflight” in Spacefarers, ed. Michael Neufeld. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, July 2013.
  • “Tough but Fair: Honesty and the Management of Emotion in the Creative Writing Workshop” in Beyond the Workshop, ed. Paul Perry. Kingston University Press, March 2012.

Awards, Honors & Grants

  • Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Fellowship, 2015
  • Angie Warren Perkins Award, University of Tennessee, 2014
  • Outstanding Mentorship Inside the Classroom Faculty Award, Department of English, University of Tennessee, 2014
  • Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, 2013
  • Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship, 2012-13
  • College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Advising Service Award, University of Tennessee, 2013
  • Hodges Assistant Professor Teaching Award, 2012
  • National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, 2008