Shawn Lawrence Otto
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. Otto was born on April 21, 1961.
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. In August 2003, Otto and his wife, Rebecca, were indicted by a grand jury for distributing false campaign material. The charges stemmed from campaign literature distributed by the Ottos claiming that Matt Dean "put his own children in private school". When the literature was distributed, one of Dean's children was in public school and the other was enrolled to start kindergarten at a public school in the fall of 2003-2004. A judge threw out this case along, with two others, ruling that Minnesota's Fair Campaign Practices Law violates the state's constitutional separation of powers.
- 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, Salon.com, Huffington Post, MinnPost.com, Issues in Science & Technology, New Scientist, Scientific American, and other outlets.
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 Amazon.com
- 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.
- Zisla, Jake. "Charges against Otto are dismissed". Press Publications. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- de Turenne, Veronique (January 5, 2004). "House of Sand and Fog". Variety.
- "Star Tribune, Minneapolis, C.J. column". Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News. August 3, 2006.
- Boyle, Alan (October 20, 2008). "Science goes under the political microscope". MSNBC.