Lesley M. M. Blume is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. The daughter of a classical pianist and a journalist, she followed her father’s footsteps into the newsroom, beginning her career at The Jordan Times in Amman and Cronkite Productions in New York City. She later became an off-air reporter and researcher for ABC News Nightline with Ted Koppel in Washington, D.C., where she helped cover the historic presidential election in 2000, the 9/11 attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a myriad of other events and topics.
Blume now specializes in stories on the evolution of historical cultural achievements, and has documented seminal moments in the careers of Jackson Pollock, Truman Capote, and Ernest Hemingway, among other creative luminaries. She contributes regularly to Vanity Fair, WSJ Magazine, and Town & Country; her work has also appeared in The New York Times, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Departures, The Hollywood Reporter, The Paris Review Daily, Slate, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications.
Blume is currently working on her second major non-fiction book, Fallout, to be released by Simon & Schuster in 2020. A WWII-era newsroom story, Fallout will recount how one intrepid reporter helped expose one of the great cover-ups of the 20th century: the true effects of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. This harrowing and engrossing story will remind readers about the ghastly realities of nuclear warfare, and will also serve as evidence that an excellent piece of journalism truly can change the world.
In 2016, Eamon Dolan Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt released Blume’s book, Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Sun‘s 1926 release. Reviewers lauded Everybody Behaves Badly as “essential … a page-turner,” “magnificently reported,” “fiendishly readable,” “riveting,” and “the best book on Hemingway in Paris since A Moveable Feast.” The book was a Washington Post notable book of 2016 and became a New York Times best seller shortly after its publication. It has sold foreign editions around the world, including in Germany, Russia, and China, and has also been optioned for development as a television series.
Blume also serves as literary executor of editor, bookseller, and Lost Generation icon Sylvia Beach, founder and owner of Paris’s Shakespeare and Company bookstore and library, and original publisher of James Joyce’s Ulysses as a book.
Blume’s previous nonfiction books include Let’s Bring Back (Chronicle Books, 2010), a cultural encyclopedia celebrating hundreds of forgotten-yet-delightful objects, pastimes, fashions, delectables, and personalities from bygone eras. It was deemed “whimsical … comical … [and] delightful” by The New Yorker and celebrated by scores of other magazines, newspapers, and broadcasts. Following the success of this initial volume, Chronicle released a top-selling series of topic-specific new editions of Let’s Bring Back – including Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition (2012) and Let’s Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition (2013).
In addition, Blume is the author of It Happened Here (Thornwillow Press, 2011), a book detailing the raucous social history of New York City’s St. Regis Hotel. The book was the inaugural volume of Thornwillow’s new “Libretto series,” which showcases the work of literary lions past and present, including Peter Matthiessen, Adam Gopnik, and Lewis Lapham. Blume has also collaborated on a variety of book projects with acclaimed photographers, including Vogue contributors Claiborne Swanson Frank (American Beauty, 2011, and Young Hollywood, 2014) and Stephan Wurth (Ghost Town, 2011).
For the amusement of young readers, Blume has authored four critically-acclaimed novels, all published by Knopf. Her debut children’s novel, Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters, has sold over 300,000 copies. Upon the release of her third children’s novel, Tennyson, reviewers compared her to writers Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Truman Capote (“Brilliant, unusual writing.”—The Chicago Tribune). Blume’s first collection of short stories for children, Modern Fairies, Dwarves, Goblins, and Other Nasties, was released in 2010; her second collection – The Wondrous Journals of Wendell Wellington Wiggins – debuted in 2012. Knopf released her latest children’s novel – Julia and the Art of Practical Travel – in 2015; her next novel for children will be released by the publisher in 2019.
Early in her career, Vogue selected Blume as a founding member of the Vogue 100, an organization of “influential decision makers and opinion leaders known for their distinctive taste in fashion and culture, [and who] personify the rising influence of women over the past several decades.” She co-created and served as founding editor of The Window, Barneys New York’s online fashion and culture magazine, and was the Huffington Post’s founding contributing Style editor.
Blume holds a B.A. in history from Williams College, and earned an M. Phil in Historical Studies from Cambridge University, where she was a Herchel Smith Fellow and wrote her masters thesis on U.S. media coverage of the 1991 Gulf War.
She recently moved from New York City to Los Angeles with her husband, also once a journalist at Nightline. Their first date was a bio-chemical warfare training session just before the 2003 Iraq invasion.