Blair Hurley

Blair Hurley is the author of The Devoted, published by W.W. Norton, which was longlisted for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. She received a 2018 Pushcart Prize and two Pushcart Prize nominations in 2019. Hurley is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Ragdale Foundation and the Writer’s Room of Boston.

The Rumpus, in praise of The Devoted, wrote, “[Hurley’s] hand is confident and steady as she layers Zen teachings into the already complicated history of her novel’s focal character… Hurley leaves you thinking and sorting through feelings long after her final page.”

Hurley’s work has been published or is forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Ninth Letter, Guernica, Joyland, New England Review, West Branch, Neon, and elsewhere. Her nonfiction has appeared in Electric Literature, Ploughshares Blog, Paris Review Daily, and Lithub, among others. She received her A.B. in English and Creative Writing from Princeton University and her M.F.A. from New York University.

In her 2021 interview with Story, Hurley discussed her writing preferences, and a number of her short stories including “The Disappearing Place”, which appeared in Story’s summer 2021 issue. She shared, “I’m my most thoughtful self, my most generous self, my most compassionate self, when I’m writing and getting curious about the characters I’m creating. It’s really important to me to be a curious person and a curious writer. To be willing to get curious about people, even who I find repugnant or different from me. I think it’s worthwhile to dive in and get inquisitive about why they do the things they do… 

I don’t write a lot of nonfiction because I like to be able to change what happened. I like to have that power over the story, and set a scene and create a mood. “The Disappearing Place” was a really fun story to write. I wanted to get into the atmosphere and get eerie, and unsettle a reader, hopefully. In fiction, you can cast a spell in a beautiful way. I love that feeling as a reader. I think fiction does that better than any form of writing. It really allows you to fully immerse yourself in the character’s world. There are truths that can be said in fiction more effectively than in nonfiction, in an odd way. I realize that when I want to learn about the world, I’ll read novels about something rather than reading a biography or a history book.”

Hurley is from New England and has lived in Chicago. She lectures on creative writing at the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and online at GrubStreet and Catapult. She is the host of the Writerly Bites podcast and offers help with content editing, writing coaching, and manuscript consulting. She is currently completing a novel represented by The Clegg Agency. Hurley lives with her husband in Canada.

Updated July 2022

Story Contributions: