Professor Spotlight: Lynn Kostoff – Fiction author finds inspiration in everything


Photo by: Austin Kemmerlin

Kostoff originally pursued a career in Meteorology and Geology before falling in love with teaching.

Lauren Cole, Staff Writer

Professor of English and author of three novels, Lynn Kostoff, has captivated the English department at

Francis Marion University (FMU) with his creativity and passion for writing.

Not only has Kostoff published three books and has one set to release in the summer 2015, but he has

also been named as a Trustee Scholar at FMU and as the Nellie Cooke Sparrow Writer in Residence: two

of the highest honors amongst the English faculty.

Kostoff attended Bowling Green University with all intentions of pursuing a career in either Meteorology

or Geology. It was not until he was asked to teach a writing class to at-risk students that he fell in love

with teaching.

“I have always loved reading and fiction writing,” Kostoff said. “It is nice to encourage others to read

and write. It is an honor to show students what a piece of literature can do.”

Since receiving his Master’s in fiction, Kostoff has taught at three different schools including the

University of Alabama. Once making his way to FMU, Kostoff found his perfect fit in a small school with

small class sizes designed around discussion.

Kostoff focuses all of his attention on helping to give students validation in their work. He does not

want students at a lower writing skill level to feel inadequate or that their work is unimportant. Kostoff

also strives to “disappear” in the classroom. His main goal in a classroom is to fade into the background

and allow the student’s writings to do all of the talking.

“I just try to forget myself and make the subject come alive,” Kostoff said. “Some students have never

read a book or have never written anything on their own. I want to inspire them to write and pour

out their thoughts on paper. The most important thing is that students feel their work is validated

and meaningful. Everything that gets written down from their minds and hearts has meaning and is


Kostoff not only inspires his students to write about anything and everything that they choose to, but his

students also inspire him to continue to write book after book of his own. He writes a draft a year of a

new book, but the first draft of each book is always hand written on paper with a pen.

“Writing the first copy out in long-hand makes me think about each and every word that goes into the

book,” Kostoff said. “It makes me appreciate each ‘and’ ‘but’ and ‘the.’”