About the Author

Whitney Otto is the author of five novels: How To Make an American Quilt, which was a New York Times Best Seller (as well as other bestseller lists) and NY Times Notable Book; nominated for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award, and adapted into a feature film produced by Steven Spielberg. Now You See Her was nominated for an Oregon Book Award, and optioned for film. The Passion Dream Book was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, optioned for a film, and an Oregonian Book Club selection. A Collection of Beauties at the Height of Their Popularity was a Multnomah County Library selection. Eight Girls Taking Pictures is being published by Scribner in November 2012. Her novels have been published in fourteen languages.

Her work has also appeared in anthologies, magazines and the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Oregonian. In 2006 she had an art exhibition of her shadow boxes at the Littman & White Galleries in Portland, OR.

Grants and Awards

  • 1990: Outstanding Teacher Award, UC Irvine
  • 1991: Nominated for a Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for How To Make An American Quilt
  • 1994: Nominated for an Oregon Book Award for Now You See Her
  • 1995: Invited to participate in the Sydney Writers Festival. Traveled to Melbourne as well. Funded by the USIA and the Government of New South Wales.
  • 2000: The Institute for North American Studies (IEN), The University of Barcelona, Universitat de Vic, and the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (lectures)
  • 2000 (8 weeks/Autumn): Awarded a Visiting Foreign Writers’ Grant from the Institucio de les Lletres Catalanes, Barcelona, Spain. The grant is a government-funded stay in Barcelona, providing time and a place to write. While there I also attended PEN luncheons, numerous cultural events (museum exhibitions, poetry readings), as well as giving a number of lectures at a variety of colleges and universities.


I have been in the New York Times Crossword Puzzle a few times. This is one of the benefits of having a crossword-friendly last name.

I was once a Jeopardy! question.

In Sex & The City (Season 4: Episode 7) my novel The Passion Dream Book is a set prop. It can be seen on the headboard of Carrie's bed as she waits up all night for Aiden.