University of Iowa

Jonathan Blum

Jonathan Blum is the author of two books of fiction: The Usual Uncertainties (Rescue Press, 2019), a story collection; and Last Word (Rescue Press, 2013), a novella. Both were named one of the best books of the year by Iowa Public Radio. The Usual Uncertainties was also named one of the 15 best short story collections of the year by Electric Literature. Blum grew up in Miami and graduated from UCLA and The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His short stories have appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, Electric Literature, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Playboy, Sonora Review, as well as Shanxi Literature and others. He has taught fiction writing at Drew University and The University of Iowa. He has received a Hawthornden fellowship in Scotland and a Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award for his short fiction. He has also been a guest writer at the Tianjin Binhai New Area International Writing Program in China. This is his tenth year teaching at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. He lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches fiction writing workshops. He can be found online at jonathanblumwriter.com.

Instructor Events

Weekend June 22 to June 23 2019
Instructor(s): 
Jonathan Blum

We use the word “I” countless times every day to refer to ourselves. But in fiction, “I” refers to something else. It refers to a storytelling creature we invent who has an identity of his or her own. In this class, which is open to writers of all experience levels, we are going to explore the possibilities of first-person singular in fiction. The class is generative; there is no need to bring anything other than your imagination. We will start out by experimenting with autobiographical voices.

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
Jonathan Blum

When was the last time you read a story you couldn’t put down? We all want to write such stories, but how do we do it? In this class, we will workshop short stories of up to 18 pages, with the goal of helping each writer identify and build on the strengths of his/her story. In so doing, we will discuss what makes a story irresistible. Among the questions we will consider: In what ways does this story engage and move us? Does the story have a recognizable structure that serves the writer’s artistic aims?