Jim Heynen

Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry

Jim Heynen
  • Personal


Jim Heynen, best known for his short-short stories about “the boys,” has also published poems, novels, and nonfiction.  His stories about the boys have been featured often on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, as well as on radio in both Sweden and Denmark.  The most recent collection of these stories, The Boys’ House, was named Editors’ Choice for Best Books of 2001 by The Bloomsbury Review, Newsday, and Booklist.  Heynen lived for many years in the Northwest and received a Northwest Booksellers Award for one of his story collections, You Know What Is Right.  He has received National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in both poetry and fiction and in 1978 was selected as a US/UK Bicentennial Exchange Fellowship to England.  He has published two YA novels with Henry Holt, and his novel, The Fall of Alice K, was published by Milkweed Editions in 2013.  A new book of short-shorts, Ordinary Sins: After Theophrastus, is scheduled for publication by Milkweed in the fall of 2014.  Heynen lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Mentor. Workshops and classes in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Statement: “For me, the greatest pleasure in teaching is spotting what is most promising in a poem, story, novel, or essay—and going from there.  Finding the possibilities in a piece of writing requires generous and attentive reading. It is hard, empathic work but can be far more rewarding than starting with the critical scalpel and going flaw-hunting. The flaws tend to dry up and flake off the page without much messy coercion if the reader and writer agree on what and where the real promise is.  One of my favorite metaphors I draw from the sport of curling: when teaching, I like to think of myself as the person with the broom clearing the way for another’s earnest intentions.”