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Photo credit: Stephen G. Bloom

Stephen G. Bloom

Award-Winning Author, Journalist, University Professor

Travels From

Iowa


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BIO

Stephen G. Bloom is the author of  of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls, a swashbuckling Indiana Jones saga that takes readers around the globe on a dazzling adventure to track the world’s most extraordinary gems.

 

 

Bloom sought to trace a single pearl, from the moment a diver off the Northern Australian coast scoops up from the seafloor an oyster with a glistening pearl inside — to the instant a woman 10,000 miles away fastens the clasp to a necklace containing the very same pearl.  The nonfiction detective saga uses pearls as a metaphor to explore interconnections of global politics, the environment, world finance, and haute couture.

 

 

Bloom hired himself out as a pearling deckhand in the Timor Sea, tromped through Philippine jungles to reach one of the world’s great pearling-processing centers, fished for freshwater pearls in rural China, bargained in some of the globe’s great pearl bazaars, and got feted on remote island paradises of the world’s reigning pearl lords.

 

 

Bloom is a natural storyteller who weaves a remarkable tale about the world’s oldest and most enduring gems, and the women who have adored them — from Cleopatra, Queen Isabella, and Coco Chanel to Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, and Michelle Obama.

 

 

A professor of narrative writing at The University of Iowa, for more than two decades Bloom was an award-winning journalist for the Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, and Sacramento Bee.  He was a foreign correspondent in Brazil for the Field News Service.  Bloom’s essays have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Washington Post, Smithsonian, London Guardian, Chicago Tribune, and Salon.  He has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, ABC World News Tonight, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered.  Bloom has been a writing fellow at the MacDowell Colony and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, as well as a visiting scholar at Columbia University.

 

 

In addition to Tears of Mermaids, Bloom is co-author (with Peter Feldstein) of The Oxford Project, which won the American Library Association’s Alex Award,  author of Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, the Chicago Tribune’s Best Book of the Year, and author of a collection of his nonfiction stories, Inside the Writer’s Mind.

 

 

Bloom, a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, lives in Iowa City, Iowa, with his wife and son.


Visit Professor Bloom's page at UIowa's site
Check out the site for The Oxford Project
Listen to Professor Bloom discuss his book, Postville, on NPR
www.macmillan.com
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BOOKS

Trade Paperback
Tears of Mermaids
The Secret Story of Pearls
St. Martin's Griffin

A round, luminescent pearl is the simplest and most perfect gem. Columbus sought—and found—this precious jewel coveted by his Spanish sovereigns, sparking...

SPEECHES

From Cleopatra to Michelle Obama, How Pearls Changed the History of the World: A narrative and visual tour, not in any history book, of how pearls shaped the powerful historical contours of who we are today.

Pearls and Cocaine: The Global Connection: A talk on how both commodities help explain international finance .

A Pearl-Buyer’s Primer: A tactile, visual show describing the best buys in pearls today…Hint: Pearls are a bargain these days.

Lessons Learned from Postville: The award-winning author who first reported on the insular community of Postville, Iowa, in his bestselling book, Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, shares his insights on how and why the Hasidic community that created the world’s largest kosher slaughterhouse went on a rampage in the Eastern Iowa community, flagrantly violating a host of laws, which led to Postville’s becoming Ground Zero in a looming national battle of immigration reform.


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Videos Coming Soon

REVIEWS

Praise for Tears of Mermaids
“Stephen Bloom takes us into a world so hidden it might as well be underwater... An incredible feat of reportage.”
-Tom Zoellner, author of The Heartless Stone

"Bloom, a journalism professor at the University of Iowa, has poured his passion into Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls, a tell-all book about pearls and the network that delivers them to the world's well-dressed women. The more we learn, the more contagious his passion becomes."
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“A satisfying mixture of history, science and popular culture.”
Kirkus Reviews



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