David Lynn is the editor emeritus of the Kenyon Review, a professor of English, and special assistant to the president of the college. He was the editor of the Review, an international journal of literature, culture and the arts, from 1994 to 2020. As an author, he received a 2016 O. Henry Award for "Divergence." His latest collection, "Children of God: New & Selected Stories," was published in 2019 by Braddock Avenue Books. An earlier volume, "Year of Fire," was published in 2006 by Harcourt. In a review, Publisher’s Weekly said that “the stories of this collection occupy the gray borderland where betrayal mixes with trust, violence with affection, humiliation with lust. The effect is quietly haunting." And the New York Times said, [Lynn] “feels his way toward tentative, glancing resolutions that avoid glib epiphanies and leave his characters, like the professor in ‘Life Sentences,’ ‘numb and sad and lonely . . . a still center as the emotional chaos of these people swirled about him, destroying so much.’”

Lynn is also the author of the novel "Wrestling with Gabriel," an earlier collection of stories, "Fortune Telling" and "The Hero's Tale: Narrators in the Early Modern Novel," a critical study. His stories and essays have appeared in magazines and journals in America, England, India and Australia. Other awards include the Glimmer Train Short Story Prize 2015, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award Finalist and the Ohioana Library Association Award for Editorial Excellence.

Lynn lives in Gambier, Ohio, with his wife, Wendy Singer, a distinguished historian of India.

Areas of Expertise

Creative writing, modern literature


1984 — Doctor of Philosophy from Univ Virginia

1979 — Master of Arts from Univ Virginia

1976 — Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College, Phi Beta Kappa

Courses Recently Taught

This workshop will focus on discussion of participants' fiction as well as on exercises and playful experimentation. Principally, we will be concerned with how stories work at every level. As we consider narrative strategies and practical methods for developing individual styles, along with approaches to revising work, we also will read, as writers, a variety of outside texts. Check with the English department administrative assistant for submission deadlines. Prerequisite: ENGL 200, 202 or 204 or submission of a writing sample and permission of instructor. Offered every year.

This course will focus on the American short story since 1900. The story is not simply a shorter fictional narrative than the novel. It is a genre with a distinct pedigree. For the first three-quarters of the 20th century, writing short stories for commercial venues such as the "Saturday Evening Post," the "New Yorker," and even "Playboy" offered financial support to many authors while they were also writing novels or screenplays. Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Porter are just a few examples. More recently, creative writing workshops and university-based M.F.A. programs have proliferated, and the short form, ideal for workshop discussion, received new life. Finally, throughout the last century, the short story was often also the site for counter-narratives and other experimentation. In this course, we will read five or six stories each week. We often will read multiple examples by the same author. And though each week will concentrate on stories largely from the same era, there will be significant differences in styles, subjects, and technique. We will discuss how the stories work, how the authors' themes and techniques develop over time, and how they influenced each other. As the semester progresses, students will assume increasing responsibility for leading discussions. This counts toward the post-1900 requirement for the major. Prerequisite: junior standing or ENGL 210-291 or permission of instructor.

In recent years, there has been a renaissance of science writing for the common reader that combines literary and scientific merit: from Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" to Oliver Sacks' "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat", from Dava Sobel's "Longitude" to Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," a series of books that explore scientific questions in a style that transcends the conventions of academic science writing or popular history have brought important questions from physics, biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and mathematics to wider public attention. Short form science journalism has become one of the most important areas of literary nonfiction, recognized both by annual awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and two different series of Best of American Science Writing anthologies. This interdisciplinary science writing course will combine literary analysis of exemplary essays on scientific topics with a writing workshop that requires students to do close observation of scientific processes, conduct independent research and interviews, interpret data, and present scientific information in highly readable form. Weekly readings will be selected from prize-winning science essays and the Best of American Science and Nature Writing series. We may also read one book-length work of science writing. Weekly writing assignments will include journals, observational accounts of science experiments, exercises in interpreting scientific data, interviews, narratives and a substantial research essay. This counts toward the approaches to literary study or post-1900 requirements for the major. No prerequisite.

Individual study in English is a privilege reserved for senior majors who want to pursue a course of reading or complete a writing project on a topic not regularly offered in the curriculum. Because individual study is one option in a rich and varied English curriculum, it is intended to supplement, not take the place of, coursework, and it cannot normally be used to fulfill requirements for the major. An IS will earn the student 0.5 units of credit, although in special cases it may be designed to earn 0.25 units. To qualify to enroll in an individual study, a student must identify a member of the English department willing to direct the project. In consultation with that faculty member, the student must write a one-to two page proposal for the IS that the department chair must approve before the IS can go forward. The chair’s approval is required to ensure that no single faculty member becomes overburdened by directing too many IS courses. In the proposal, the student should provide a preliminary bibliography (and/or set of specific problems, goals and tasks) for the course, outline a specific schedule of reading and/or writing assignments, and describe in some detail the methods of assessment (e.g., a short story to be submitted for evaluation biweekly; a thirty-page research paper submitted at course’s end, with rough drafts due at given intervals). Students should also briefly describe any prior coursework that particularly qualifies them for their proposed individual studies. The department expects IS students to meet regularly with their instructors for at least one hour per week, or the equivalent, at the discretion of the instructor. The amount of work submitted for a grade in an IS should approximate at least that required, on average, in 400-level English courses. In the case of group individual studies, a single proposal may be submitted, assuming that all group members will follow the same protocols. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of their proposed individual study well in advance, preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the established deadline.