Ron Hansen is the author of ten works of fiction and a collection of essays. He is particularly known for his meticulous examinations of religious experience, and of the lives of historical figures. Among his best known books are the novels Desperadoes; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award; Mariette in Ecstasy; Atticus, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner; the short story collection Nebraska; and his latest novel, A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion. Hansen is presently the Gerard Manley Hopkins Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Santa Clara University, where he teaches courses in writing and literature. He is also an ordained deacon of the Catholic Church.
Hansen read from his work on September 22, 2011, in Cornell's Goldwin Smith Hall. This interview took place earlier the same day.