Associate Professor, MFA Director

Office: 541-737-1673

Moreland Hall

Moreland Hall 342

2550 SW Jefferson Way

2550 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331
MFA, University of Iowa, 2008
BA, University of Pittsburgh, 2000
Honors and Awards: 

2023 Blackwell Prize and Residency

2022 CLA Hovland Service Award

2022 Storyknife Writers Residency

2018 Oregon Book Award in Nonfiction

2018 New Harmony Writer-in-Residence

2018 Muse Fellow in Nonfiction

2017 Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference Fellow

2017 Willapa Bay Artist-in-Residence

2016 Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship

2015 Whiting Foundation Award

2014 Independent Publisher’s Gold Medal

2013 Center for the Humanities Fellowship

2011 MacDowell Colony Fellow

2010 Hambidge Center Artist-in-Residence


Office Hours: 
By appointment

Profile Field Tabs

Affiliated with: 
School of Writing, Literature, and Film
OSU Main Campus
Courses Taught: 

ENG 545: Graduate Seminar, "Essays on Film" 

ENG 545: Graduate Seminar, "The Book-length Essay" 

ENG 545: Graduate Seminar; "21st Century Documentary Theater"

ENG 545: Graduate Seminar; "Contemporary Literary Magazines"

WR 540: MFA Nonfiction Workshop

WR 445/545 Studies in Nonfiction; "The Last Five Years in Nonfiction"  

WR 445 Studies in Nonfiction; "The Book-length Essay"  

WR 445 Studies in Nonfiction; "The Essayistic Sentence"

WR 340: Creative Nonfiction Workshop

WR 440: Advanced Creative Nonfiction Workshop

ENG 320: Page, Stage, and Screen

ENG 107: Introduction to Lit: Creative Nonfiction; "The Personal Essay"

Research/Career Interests: 

Elena Passarello teaches courses in writing and reading literary nonfiction. The recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award, Passarello's essays on performance, pop culture, visual art, and the natural world have been translated into German, Italian, French, Hebrew, and Chinese. Recent work appears in The New York Times, National Geographic, Paris Review, and Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018. In 2019, Outside named her one of the “25 Essential Women Authors Writing about the Wild."

Passarello is the author of two collections, both published by Sarabande Books. The most recent, Animals Strike Curious Poses, was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. It made the Best Books of 2017 lists from several publications including the New York Times Book Review, the Guardian, and Publisher's Weekly, and it received the Oregon Book Award for nonfiction. In 2019, Lithub listed Animals Strike Curious Poses as one of the best essay collections of the decade. 

Her debut book, Let Me Clear My Throat, won the gold medal at the 2013 Independent Publisher Awards and was a finalist for the 2014 Oregon Book Award, as well as the 2013 nonfiction selection of the Women’s National Book Association and the 2016 “One Campus, One Book” title for the University of Central Missouri. Other work has been widely anthologized in collections, including After Montaigne: Essayists Cover the Essays (UGA Press), The Spirit of Disruption (Outpost19 Books), Little Boxes: Twelve Writers on Television (Coffeehouse Press), Dear America (Trinity U. Press), I’ll Tell You Mine: Essays from 25 Years of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program (U. of Chicago Press), and Cat is Art Spelled Wrong (Coffeehouse Press).

Passarello edits nonfiction for Texas Tech University's Iron Horse Review and is co-editor of the West Virginia University Press nonfiction book series In Place. She sits on the board of NonfictionNow, the largest international conference on the genre, and she also maintains an active speaking and performing career, reading and lecturing at dozens of venues annually. 

You can hear her weekly on 200 radio stations across America, as a part of Public Radio International’s culture and variety program, LiveWire!