Thursday, June 01, 2017


A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Ryan Blacketter is the author of Down in the River. He works as a mentor for PEN America's Prison Writing Program. His short stories appear in Antioch Review, Crab Orchard Review, Eclectica Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, and elsewhere. He has published essays in the Observer, the Rumpus, and Quillette. Ryan has completed a new novel, The Argentine Woman. 

Advocating a centrist classroom, Ryan supports individualistic speech right and left, but discourages speech-as-acid-attack so evident in the culture wars. As Ryan remarks in a recent Observer essay on Milo Yiannopoulos, the provocateur has a right to speak and publish but his constant nasty comments "embolden the mean, alienate the good, and tire the ones in between." 

Friday, April 07, 2017

Ryan is a contributer at the Observer

Click here for Ryan's Observer Articles, including recent essays on
Hemingway and Salinger.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Reviews for Down in the River: Fiction Writers Review, Paste, The Rumpus, Largehearted Boy, etc.

Reviews, interviews and endorsements of 
Ryan Blacketter's Novel, Down in the River.

Fiction Writers Review: "What makes this novel so warm and heartbreaking despite its gruesome material is that all the characters are driven by their love and concern for each other." Click here to read the entire review: Fiction Writers Review

The Rumpus: "[Down in the River] casts us deep into a haunting, crystalline forest of ice-lit trees, broken streetlamps . . . a place where a kind of inner wilderness has crept back through the city, where the lights of passing trains, the reflections of windows and the 'cry of night birds' appear intermittently like forms of meaningless chaos or secret signs." The Rumpus

Paste Magazine's interview with Ryan Blacketter: "The human story is a fairly dark one with painful and dangerous impulses that we all have. And that's coupled with a fortress-like psychology that most people have, protecting them from the awareness of the fact that they are part of this human experience." Paste Magazine

Buy Down in the River:

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Online Fiction Workshop, September-November 2017

High-Risk Fiction: A Writing Workshop
This class encourages fiction that, like all good writing, takes risks. This riskiness sets literature apart from the dishonesty of bad books, TV, and movies. Workshop is not confession, but in the privacy of their writing rooms students might begin to tell personal stories that perhaps they have only told about other people. 

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Ryan's Response to Boise State University's the Arbiter.

The Arbiter's article about my firing is misleading. It discusses a "lifetime ban," which never existed, for one example of outright sensationalism.

Monday, January 16, 2017

She's Back to Sleeping

Ryan's story "She's Back to Sleeping" appears in Eclectica Magazine, America's oldest continuously publishing online journal, twenty years and counting. 

Click Here: She's Back to Sleeping

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Ryan Likes Teaching Prisoners

Ryan is proud to volunteer for PEN America's Prison Writing Program. For a hundred years, PEN has defended writers from harassment, censorship, even the penalty of death, all over the world. 

"Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself." --Salman Rushdie, former PEN director

Monday, February 15, 2016

Radio Interview In Ketchum

Ryan's radio interview in Ketchum. He neglected to clarify in the interview that he loves Amy Hempel--the best of the 80s quirky minimalists.

Podcast of Ryan's Interview:

Monday, February 01, 2016

Ryan's Rumpus Essay on Guided By Voices

"Albums of Our Lives: Alien Lanes"

Thanks to the Guided by Voices fans who commented and sent notes. 

And thanks to Rumpus assistant music editor and musician 
Liz Wood, who helped me develop this piece.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015


“Ryan is committed to the writing life… The evidence of his hard work is found in his precise, musical sentences.” --Frank Conroy

"Ryan's seriousness is his most striking trait. It might better be called gravity. It is no doubt largely attributable to a somewhat unconventional upbringing, toward which he has developed a thoughtful and respectful detachment. He has a marvelous eye for the textures of the most commonplace experience, the kind that familiarity makes almost subliminal."   

--Marilynne Robinson