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October 4, 2010
By Zanny Marsh
The Reynolds School of Journalism, in association with Nevada Humanities, will honor author Stephen G. Bloom, author, journalist and Internet essayist, as the 2010 Laxalt Distinguished Writer. Bloom will talk about his craft and creativity at the Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. The event is free and the public is welcome.
Bloom is perhaps best known for his 2000 nonfiction book Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, which earned several best book of the year awards. His most recent book, Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls, published in November, 2009, is a nonfiction story that chronicles the cultural, economic and political history of the world’s first gem.
“I’m interested in the role of the storyteller in modern society,” Bloom says. “’Tell me a story’ is the oldest request in the world. I want to figure out where storytelling is in this digital age.”
“Steve Bloom’s work is both exceptionally well-crafted narrative and extraordinary in-depth reporting,” said Jerry Ceppos, Reynolds School dean. “He is an outstanding practitioner of the type of writing for which Robert Laxalt is remembered.”
Laxalt, considered by many to be Nevada’s finest writer, founded the University of Nevada Press; wrote l7 books, two of which were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Laxalt wrote under contract for National Geographic Magazine; and, for l8 years, was a professor at the Reynolds School of Journalism.
The Robert Laxalt Distinguished Writer program was established following the 2001 death of Laxalt to inspire new generations of writers. This event encourages authors to explore themes in their work and talk about the creative process with audience members.
“Over the course of his prolific career Laxalt transitioned from news reporter to fiction and non-fiction author,” said Warren Lerude, a long-time friend of Laxalt and journalism professor emeritus.
Bloom’s work includes his collaboration with photographer Peter Feldstein on a 2008 book The Oxford Project (Welcome Press, distributed by Random House), a series portraits of Oxford, Iowa residents taken 21 years apart with first-person text from the subjects. Bloom will sign books, available for purchase, after the event.
His essays have appeared in the electronic magazines Tweak (We All Sat Around Like Schlemiels and The French Eat Their Young, the-cake.com (Mikey's Close Call and Shop), Salon Magazine (Busy Signal, Fantasy Isle, Pack of Wolves, Facts of Life, Sex-free Bliss?, Dr. Fart Speaks, and Prozac for PMS, Oyster Boy Review, and on National Public Radio (Postcards from Postville).