Liesl Olson is Director of Chicago Studies at the Newberry library.  Born in Düsseldorf, Germany, Olson grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and graduated from Stanford University.  She received her doctorate in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in New York City, and for four years she taught at the University of Chicago as a Harper-Schmidt Fellow.  She has received fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Newberry library.  Olson has written widely on twentieth-century literature and art, including her first book Modernism and the Ordinary (Oxford U P, 2009) and her most recent book Chicago Renaissance: Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis (Yale, 2017), which won the 2018 Pegasus Award from the Poetry Foundation for best book of poetry criticism, and the 2019 Mid-America Award from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature.


Recent praise for Chicago Renaissance:

In Modernism/Modernity 

In American Literary History

In the Chicago Tribune

In Public Books

At the Arts Club Chicago

The Morning Shift WBEZ Chicago.

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