Laird Hunt is the author of five novels and a collection of short stories. Kind One, a 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winner for fiction, is a haunting novel that explores the uncanny intimacy between slave and master. In understated prose, the story tells of two slave sisters who turn tables on their mistress and take her captive after her Kentucky farmer husband dies. Hunt spans the period between the 1850s and 1930 in Kind One, and brings fresh imagining to our nation’s most difficult subject.
Born in Singapore and educated at Indiana University and The Sorbonne in Paris, Laird Hunt has also lived in Tokyo, London, The Hague, New York City, and on an Indiana farm. A translator and former press officer at the United Nations, he is currently a faculty member at the University of Denver, where he edits the Denver Quarterly. He lives in Denver, Colorado.
His writings, reviews, and translations have appeared in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, Bomb, Bookforum, Grand Street, The Believer, Fence, Conjunctions, Brick, Mentor, Inculte, and Zoum Zoum.
Credit: Ulf Andersen/Aurimages/AFP FORUM
Laird Hunt, Wikipedia will tell you, “is an American writer, translator and academic.” True, as far as that goes. But readers of Hunt’s haunted, touched-by-the-fantastical fiction know it goes much deeper, and farther back.
At 48, Hunt’s beard has grayed, and he’s updated his stylish glasses since 2013, when he won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for his antebellum novel “Kind One.” Today he describes that work as the beginning of a triptych, which grew to include his mesmerizing Civil War... Read More →
The Evening Road returns Laird Hunt to Indiana, where the Anisfield-Wolf winner lived on his grandmother’s farm during his high school years, and where his feel for the rural Midwest and its uncelebrated people has few equals in American literature.
This seventh novel springs from one of the nation’s most troubled wells. Hunt tells it over a single summer night, anchored in the bloody lynching of two men – Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp -- in Marion, Indiana August 7, 1930.
“The events of that evening gave rise to the poem ‘Strange... Read More →
Anisfield-Wolf winning novelist Laird Hunt capped his book tour for the newly-released “Neverhome” by returning to Cleveland this week, arriving directly from Toronto with big news: the Dublin-based Element Pictures has acquired rights to his new novel and signed Lenny Abrahamson to direct.
Hunt, 46, had just met with Abrahamson in Canada, where the director is set to film Emma Donaghue’s suspenseful bestseller “Room.” Hunt told his Cleveland audience, gathered in the Beachwood branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, that he... Read More →
Neverhome Laird Hunt Little, Brown & Co., 246 pp., $26
Laird Hunt’s transfixing new novel “Neverhome” unspools in the voice of a Civil War soldier. It works upon the reader like a haunting. The narrator is Ash Thompson, a young woman passing as a man into the uniform of the Union.The opening line: “I was strong and he was not so it was me went to war to defend the Republic.” Ash Thompson—born Constance—is telling us about her young husband Bartholomew and her strong desire to leave their Indiana farm to see the world... Read More →
While Laird Hunt was in Cleveland for the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf ceremony, we managed to nab him for a brief interview during his busy day of press and pre-show preparation. Hunt was honored for Kind One, his 2012 novel that explores oppression on a rural Kentucky pig farm. (In interviews he often reveals that the idea for the book came from a nugget in another Anisfield-Wolf winner's work—Edward P. Jones' The Known World.) Find out how Hunt reacted when he got the call from Dr. Gates and what he thinks the award means to his career moving... Read More →
Laird Hunt is the author of five novels and one short story collection. His latest book, Kind One, won the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf award for fiction. In a video interview with Rain Taxi, Hunt describes being moved by a short passage in Edward P. Jones' The Known World, which prompted him to start writing Kind One:
"He describes this anecdote about a woman who lives in this imaginary county he's constructed, who lives with her husband and two female slaves. One day the husband comes up dead and the slaves turn the tables on her and enslave her... Read More →
The jury has spoken and five new authors will join the Anisfield-Wolf family.
Our 2013 winners are:
Laird Hunt, Kind One, Fiction
Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds, Fiction
Eugene Gloria, My Favorite Warlord, Poetry
Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree, Nonfiction
Wole Soyinka, Lifetime Achievement
“The 2013 Anisfield-Wolf winners are exemplars who broaden our vision of race and diversity,” said Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who chairs the jury. “This year, there is exceptional writing about the war in Iraq, slavery on a... Read More →