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Shawn Lawrence Otto

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Name  Shawn Otto
Role  Screenwriter

Movies  House of Sand and Fog
Books  Sins of Our Fathers
Shawn Lawrence Otto httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Similar People  Vadim Perelman, Andre Dubus III, Lisa Zeno Churgin, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Michael London

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Shawn Lawrence Otto is an American novelist, nonfiction author, filmmaker, political strategist, speaker, science advocate, and screenwriter and co-producer of the movie House of Sand and Fog.


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Otto lives on a hobby farm near Marine on St. Croix with his wife, Rebecca Otto, the current Minnesota State Auditor. Their home, called "Breezy," is passive solar, geothermal, wind-powered, and superinsulated. Otto designed it, and the couple built it with their own hands. Otto claims his family forefather, C.D. Gilfillan, founded the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Otto is a past (2009–2011) Board Chair of the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.


  • Otto is the author of Sins of Our Fathers (ISBN 978-1571311092), a critically acclaimed novel published in 2014 that received a starred review by Publishers Weekly.
  • Otto is the screenwriter and coproducer of House of Sand and Fog which starred Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly and garnered three Academy Award Nominations.
  • Otto's 2011 book Fool Me Twice: Fighting The Assault On Science In America (ISBN 978-1605292175) is published by Rodale Books, and received starred reviews from both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.
  • Otto has his own blog, Neorenaissance, and blogs regularly on Huffington Post.
  • Otto's work has been published in Science,, Huffington Post,, Issues in Science & Technology, New Scientist, Scientific American, and other outlets.
  • Science debate

    During the Hollywood writers' strike in 2007 and 2008, Otto co-founded and became the CEO of the Science Debate 2008. Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain participated in the debate.

    Notable public appearances

    Otto delivered the keynote at the 45th annual Nobel Conference, on "Democracy in the Age of Science", and has spoken at the United States National Academies, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2010. He has also spoken about science and politics on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation: Science Friday and on television and radio throughout the world.

    Awards and honors

  • Otto's book Fool Me Twice won the 2012 Minnesota Book Award for nonfiction selling in the top 250,000 titles according to
  • Otto was awarded the IEEE-USA's 2009 National Distinguished Public Service Award, their highest honor.
  • His film House of Sand and Fog was nominated for three Academy Awards.
  • Otto's first screenplay, Shining White, won the Heathcote Award, the McKnight Artist Fellowship and the Barry Morrow Fellowship.
  • He is a PEN Center USA Literary Awards finalist in screenwriting for House of Sand and Fog.
  • He is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow for his project Hubble.
  • Otto is a National Merit Scholar, a member of Mensa, a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and an Eagle Scout.
  • References

    Shawn Lawrence Otto Wikipedia