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Reviews for Down in the River: Fiction Writers Review, Paste, The Rumpus, Largehearted Boy, and City Paper

Selected Reviews, etc., of Ryan Blacketter's novel Down in the River:

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

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 …
Recent posts
Ryan's recent article in the Observer: 
"The Rebel Left Has Vanished."


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. For Writers in the Schools, he taught at Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon. 
Ryan's short stories appear in Antioch Review, Crab Orchard Review, Eclectica Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, Other Voices, Quick Fiction, and elsewhere. He has published essays in the Observer, the Rumpus, and Quillette. A Tennessee Williams Scholar at Sewanee, and a former Tin House slush reader, Ryan has completed a new novella, The Argentine Woman.
Examples of Short Fiction:


Along with other Iowa grads, Ryan works part-time as a One Morgan Writers' Workshop Thesis Adviser to 8th graders at Morgan County Middle School in Georgia, conducted online.

He is also 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. 

Ryan enjoyed teaching creative writing at Lincoln High School in Portland, OR. His 9th graders' stories exploring the mysteries of pizza and aliens--or sometimes very serious subjects--were a blast to read. He looks forward to living in a city that has a WITS program very soon.

Hemingway and Salinger Articles

Click here for Ryan's "Catcher" article in the Observer and here for his Hemingway essay.

Online Fiction Workshop, December-February 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. 


“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