Carol Bly (April 16, 1930 – December 21, 2007) was a teacher and an award-winning American author of short stories, essays, and nonfiction works on writing. Her work often featured Minnesota women who must identify the moral crisis that is facing their community or themselves and enact change through empathy, or opening one's eyes to the realities of the situation.
Bly's short stories are known for their realistic characters and situations, which are fully developed within the small number of pages the story allows. Although many of her stories are set in Minnesota, the people and the situations transcend local boundaries, emphasizing pride in one's work, resourcefulness, the ability to laugh at one's self, and the ability "to hold values beyond one's own immediate welfare."
To reach a broader audience, Bly wrote several books to assist others in learning to write well. Rather than concentrate on the technical basics of writing a story, these books provide tips for writing a story that is "morally, politically, and emotionally deep." Her books are somewhat controversial, as they encourage students to use "the sort of 'empathetic questioning' therapists and social workers use" in order to find their strongest feelings and amplify their ideas.