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Scholarly Interest Report
Amber Dermont
Associate Professor
Associate Professor of English
  • B.A. English Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Ph.D. English Literature and Creative Writing University of Houston, Houston, TX
  • MA Writing, Literature and Publishing Emerson College, Boston, MA
  • M.F.A. English/Fiction The University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, Iowa City, IA
Primary Department
   Department of English
Department Affiliations
  • Department of English
    Research Areas
     Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Poetry, Narratology, Narrative Theory and Evolutionary Biology, The History of The Fairy Tale, Hybridity, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Screenwriting, Film Studies, The Graphic Novel, Art History, The Art of The Novel, Book Arts
    Teaching Areas
     Intro and Advanced Fiction Workshops, Screenwriting, The Graphic Novel, Fairy Tale, Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshops, Publishing
    Selected Publications
     Refereed articles

    Dermont, Amber. “On Susan Minot’s Lust and Other Stories.” UK: We Love This Book. 2013.


    Dermont, Amber. “The Incorrigible Student.” The Story Prize Blog.


    Dermont, Amber. Damage Control: Stories. (New York). St Martin's Press. 2013. Print.


    Dermont, Amber. The Starboard Sea: A Novel. United Kingdom: Constable and Robinson/Corsair. 2013. Print.


    Dermont, Amber. The Starboard Sea: A Novel. Germany: Mare. 2014. Print.


    Dermont, Amber. The Starboard Sea: A Novel. New York: St. Martin's Press. 2013. Print.

     Book reviews

    Amber Dermont Reviews Meg Wolitzer's novel" Belzhar ""Secret Histories"." The New York Times Book Review (September 19, 2014) : A version of this review appears in print on September 21, 2014, on page BR15 of the Sunday Book Rev.


    Amber Dermont Reviews Rachel Urquhart's novel" The Visionist ""Possession: A Review of Rachel Urquhart's novel" The Visionist ." New York Times Book Review (January 24, 2014) : A version of this review appears in print on January 26, 2014, on page BR11 of the Sunday Book Revie.


    Dermont, Amber ""So What If I Love You That's None of Your Business"." Iowa Review, 47 (Winter 2017/18)

    Creative Works
     Other - “On Missing My Flight Home for the Holidays”
     Short Story, salon.com, (11/27/14)
     Other - “Xmas Morning in Connecticut: Just After the War”
     Short Story, salon.com, (1/1/14)
     Conference Paper

    "AWP Conference Panel: Happy Endings. “How to Throw The Best Funeral Ever.” With Ian Stansel, Kyle Minor, Rebecca Makkai and Danielle Evans. February 26-29, Seattle, Washington.

     ." (2/26/2014)

     Invited Papers

    2013 AWP Conference, Boston, Sea Change: Writing Remade Off the New England Coast (Robin Beth Schaer, Amber Dermont, Elyssa East, Anna Solomon, Amy Brill) Winter 2013.


    Fall 2013 Iowa City Festival of the Book, Panel “I Wish I’d Written That” with Karen Thompson Walker.


    University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival, “Happy Endings and Spoiler Alerts” with Mark Jude Poirier.

     Invited Talks

    "Pacific University, Craft Lecture and Public reading, March 13, 2014. Forest Grove, Oegon.
    ." Pacific University, Pacific University Forest Grove, Oegon. (March 13, 2014)



    Sarah Lawrence College, Sponsored by the Graduate Creative Writing Program, Moderated by Jeffrey McDaniel Spring 2013


     Keynote Speaker

    “The Joke Is Always on Me: A Writer Walks into a Bar (Again) and Other Tales of Repetition, Juxtaposition, Self-Deprecation and the Understated Power of Stealing from Stand-Up Comedy and Deploying Humor to Reveal, Heighten and Distract or Is This Craft Talk Just One Long Practical Joke (Yes, But It’s On Me),”


    University of Houston, Honors College, Lecture on Narrative Strategies, Spring ‘13



    The Iowa Review Reading Celebration, Fall 2017

    ." (September 29, 2017)



    University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Visiting Writers Reading w/Chris Adrian, DA Powell, Fall 2017 

    ." (Dec 3, 2017)



    University of Mississippi, Grisham Writer-in-Residence Reading Series, Spring 2017

    ." (Spring 2017)



    Reading and Q&A with Deborah Eisenberg, University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, Fall 2017 

    ." (Fall 2017)


    "Chatham Hall, Chatham, Virginia. Writer-in-Residence Craft Lecture and Public Reading April 29-May 1, 2014." Chatham Hall, Chatham, Virginia. (April 29-May 1, 2014)


    "Reading University of Iowa, “Notes Toward an Anatomy of Pain” June 17, 2014.." (une 17, 2014.)


    Live from Prairie Lights! Radio Performance of my short story, “Afternoons in the Museum of Childhood.” Iowa City: KSUI. Broadcast Summer 2013.


    Performance of my short story “Lyndon” by the Sweet! Actors Reading Writers Series, NY NY, Spring 2013.


    “The Advantages of an Unhappy Childhood.” Original Essay. BBC Radio 4. Four Thought. Broadcast 2013.


    Inprint Margaret Root Brown Reading Series, with Jesmyn Ward, Spring ‘13


    Reading from Damage Control: Stories at the Sunset Reading Series with James Hoch, Cold Spring, NY Spring 2013


    The University of West Georgia, English Dept., with Melanie Summer, Winter 2013


    Reading from "Assembling the Troops"

    Houston Community College, Spring 2013


    Iowa City Festival of the Book, Fall 2013

    Supervised Theses & Dissertations
     Andrew Diamond, MFA Andrew Diamond: A Collection of Short Stories. (2014) (Thesis Committee Member)

     Thomas Calder, MFA Thomas Calder's Novel in Progress. (2014) (Thesis Committee Member)

     Andrew Diamond, MFA A Collection of Stories.. (2014) (Thesis Committee Member)

     Thomas Calder, MFA Everyone’s House: A Novel.. (2014) (Thesis Committee Member)

    Awards, Prizes, & Fellowships
     The Tim McGinnis Prize, The Iowa Review, The Iowa Review (Winter 2017)

     Semi-Finalist Screenwriting Award, Drama, The Austin Film Festival, The Austin Film Festival (Fall 2017)

     The Distinguished Grisham Writer-in-Residence, The University of Mississippi, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi (Winter 2017)

     Finalist, Sundance Film Institute Writers’ Lab (with Teddy Wayne), Sundance Film Instittute

     Books All Georgians Should Read 2014-2015, The Center for the Book, The Starboard Sea, The Center for the Book Atlanta, Georgia (9/2014)

     Artist-in-Residence Fellowship, The Hermitage Artist Retreat Englewood, Florida (Six week fellowship residency to be spread out over two years. This fellowship is by special nomination only and cannot be applied for. ), The Hermitage Artist Retreat (2014-2016)

     The Independent Film Project's RBC's Emerging Storytellers Prize, The Independent FIlm Project (9/2014)

     Top Twenty Best Books of 2013 for Damage Control, Elle Magazine, Winter 2013, Elle Magazine (Winter 2012)

     Finalist for The Townsend Prize The Starboard Sea (currently under consideration) ,

    Residencies & Summer Festivals
     Fellowship Recipient . Selected by a committee through a confidential process (recipients are not allowed to apply) for a six week residency., The Hermitage Artist Retreat Englewood, FL. (Summer 2017)
     Summer Festival
     Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Taught a two-week long Master Class on the Art of the Novel, The University of Iowa. (June-July 2014)
     Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Taught three courses at the University of Iowa's Summer Writing Festival: A Novel Workshop, A Novel Structure Workshop, A Class on Applying for an MFA program., University of Iowa. (Summer 2013)
     Final Judge, University of Houston Graduate Creative Writing Program Fiction Awards, Winter 2013.. Final Judge, University of Houston Graduate Creative Writing Program Fiction Awards, Winter 2013., University of Houston. (Winter 2013)
     Judge, Barthelme Prize, Winter, 2014.. Read, ranked and judged submissions for Barthelme Prize, Rice University. (12/2014)
     Juror, The Berlin Prize. Invited by the Academy of Berlin to serve as a juror for the Berlin Prize., The Academy of Berlin. Berlin, Germany. (2018)
     Master Class
     Summer Graduate Master Class University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. From a competitive pool of applicants, I chose a group of students for a Graduate Master Class at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop., University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. (Summer 2013)
     University of Iowa Writers' Workshop Summer Graduate Seminar in Fiction. From a highly competitive pool of applicants, I chose a group of students for a Graduate Master Class at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop., The University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop. (Summer 2014)
     Visiting Professor -- Humor and the Uncanny. Porcupines At The University Or The Wonderful Necessity of the Comedic Impulse in Contemporary Fiction “‘What is wonderful? Are these porcupines wonderful? Are they significant? Are they what I need?”’ —Donald Barthelme In this course we’ll explore the complexity of the human condition through the distorted/clear-eyed lenses of absurdity, satire, and wit. Our close readings of various novels and short stories will sharpen our understanding of how pattern and variation, world creation, de-familiarization, incongruity, paraprosdokia, syllepsis cheap laughs, litanies (is this list almost over?) are deployed to disarm, disorient and subvert a reader’s expectations. We’ll study the relationships between comedy and catharsis, humor and grief, parody and verity, the uncanny and the canny, meta-fiction and fiction. As we read, we’ll consider how context (political, historical, cultural) and stance (insider/outsider) inform humor and serve to undercut presumed authority. We’ll read stories that challenge our sense of form and structure, and, at the strangest moments, when all hope is lost, we just might laugh. We’ll do all of this with the intent of complicating our narrative vision and voice, encouraging our sense of play, heightening our literary ambitions and deepening our empathy. Our readings will inform our own writing and the course will also serve as a workshop for these short stories. Risk-taking and experimentation will be rewarded as our comedic impulses lead us toward the starkest and most necessary truths. Readings may include works by the following authors: Donald Barthelme, Aimee Bender, Albert Camus, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Nam Le, Rebecca Lee, Stewart Lee, (the rule of threes!), Sabrina Orah Mark, Helen Oyeyemi, James Purdy, Stacey Richter, Philip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut, Colson Whitehead, John Edgar Wideman and Jenny Zhang. We’ll consider a variety of rhetorical modes, organic forms, cheap laughs and undercut organic form are deployed to reveal rhetorical modes of expression reveal the deepest and most sought after artistic truths. Though we shall not attempt to explain away why a given image or line of dialogue is funny, Have you ever given a reading of your work and expected to hear laughter after a certain punchline? Did you assume the posture of a person modestly awaiting praise and affirmation? Were you confused when no one in the audience laughed? Were you surprised when moments later, one of your less beguiling sentences received a wave of uproar and delight from the crowd? Did you wonder, “Are they laughing with me or laughing at me?” Together, we shall study works of contemporary fiction to better understand how pattern and variation, defamiliarization, incongruity, and rhetorical modes of expression reveal the deepest and most sought after artistic truths. Though we shall not attempt to explain away why a given image or line of dialogue is funny, Wit Absurdity, Satire, Texts May Include: The Bible (Parts I and II) The Magna Carte , The University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop. (Fall 2017)
     Visiting Professor--Master Class on The Short Story. A master class of the short story., The University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop. (Fall 2017)
    Positions Held
     The Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing/English, The University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop Graduate MFA Program. (2017 - 2018)