According to American Book Review,Olsen "is among the finest writers of social critique and speculative fiction today." His short stories have appeared in such journals, magazines and anthologies as Iowa Review,Fictional International, Village Voice, Time Out,BOMB, Gulf Coast, McSweeney's and Best American Non-Required Reading. He graduated and received his B.A. From the University of Wisconsin in 1978, his M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1980, and both his M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. (1985) from the University of Virginia. He has taught at The University of Idaho, the University of Kentucky, the University of Iowa and the University of VirginiaHe is the Associate Editor at American Book Review, Fiction Editor at Western Humanities Review. He co-founded Now Whatblog by "alternative prose writers and publishers." He currently lives in central Idaho and Salt Lake City.