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Samantha Hunt: Samantha Hunt

Orange Prize finalist and Bard Fiction winner.


Samantha Hunt


June 2016


Samantha Hunt
Photo © Nina Subin.

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SAMANTHA HUNT’s The Invention of Everything Else was a finalist for the Orange Prize and winner of the Bard Fiction Prize. After her first novel, The Seas, she was selected for the inaugural 5 Under 35 National Book Foundation program. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker and McSweeney’s.


What are you reading?  What's on your nightstand?

I'm currently reading two books, soon to be published: Paul LaFarge's The Night Ocean and Melanie Finn's The Gloaming. My book group just finished reading I Love Dick by Chris Kraus and on my nightstand I have Lydia Millet's Sweet Lamb of Heaven and Helen Oyeyemi's Boy, Snow, Bird on deck.

Where do you go to get inspired?

I grew up in a crazy house, the youngest of six children. Our house was built before the Revolutionary War. Our neighbor, an older gentleman, grew up in my home and converted the hay barn into his house when he got married. Between his house and memory, and the wild detritus my artist mom has collected over the years, I find it very inspiring to just go home.

What's something that surprised you recently (in a good way)?

Two of my daughters learned to read. I also found an ancient deck of cards in a desk drawer with naked lady pictures on them!

Where do you write?

I write in my car, parked down at the river. I have to do this to escape the siren song of the internet.

What/who makes you laugh? Why?

Maria Bamford makes me laugh. Her strange way of seeing the world makes me hopeful.

Favorite fictional character ever?

The Artful Dodger is a good one.

What do you want readers to know about you and your books?

I don't believe in ghosts, except for when I do.

What are you working on?

Finishing a collection of short stories, working on a bit of non-fiction that examines ways we get haunted, and, of course, a new novel.


On Mr. Splitfoot:

"Samantha Hunt’s third novel, MR. SPLITFOOT, will haunt me...I’ve dog-eared so many pages in honor of vivid prose that my advance reader’s copy of “Mr. Splitfoot” curls up with fattened corners. Hunt renders as ornate and magical the tired landscape of Troy and upstate New York — and I say this as a native of that area, with high regard for its quiddities. Hypnotic and glowing, “Mr. Splitfoot” insists on its own ghostly presence. Memory, either of dead people or of books read once upon a time, obeys only the rules it chooses."
—Gregory Maguire, New York Times Book Review

"Ethereal...The book deftly straddles the slippery line between fantasy and reality in a story that’s both gripping and wonderfully mystifying...interconnected chapters builds suspense while keeping readers guessing about what crazy turn might happen next. Hints of what’s in store for readers include a cult of Etherists, a noseless man, a pile of lost money, and a scar-like pattern of meteorite landings. This spellbinder is storytelling at its best."
Publishers Weekly, ***Starred Review***

"A truly fantastic novel in which the blurring of natural and supernatural creates a stirring, visceral conclusion."
Kirkus Reviews, ***Starred Review***

On The Invention of Everything Else:

"Hunt (The Seas) delivers a breathtaking novel that is both difficult to classify and impossible to ignore."
Library Journal
"In this quirky novel, Hunt imagines the last days of the eccentric scientist, Nikola Tesla, the inventor of AC electricity and wireless communication..Oddly charming and pleasantly peculiar, Hunt's novel offers a unique perspective on hope and imagining life's possibilities."

On The Seas:

"A cross between Rosamunde Pilcher's Coming Home and R.A. Dick's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, this is a beautifully unconventional story."
Library Journal

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