Category: news

Readings and Events

It’s almost here, readers — THE DEVOTED will be available online and in bookstores on August 21st! It would mean a lot if you pre-ordered, on Amazon or at the Indie bookstore of your choice:
Amazon pre-order
Indie pre-order

Recent News about THE DEVOTED:

Booklist gave THE DEVOTED a starred review! Here’s an excerpt:
“Hurley’s debut is a breathtaking performance, portraying not just the ugly corners of an abusive relationship but also how faith can color the contours of our lives. With absolutely spot-on descriptions of Boston, this spellbinding story adds much-needed nuance to the discussion of faith and what we’re willing to forsake in the name of absolution.”

Library Journal picked THE DEVOTED as one of its Summer/Fall Best Reads and wrote “All lovers of great fiction with complex characters as well as anyone fascinated by narratives about religious cults will want.”

And THE DEVOTED is on the Center for Fiction’s longlist for its First Novel Prize!

I’m so excited to see the responses that have started coming in. And finally, I’ll be doing events this summer and fall in Boston, New York, Chicago, and beyond to launch The Devoted. Check back at my Events Page to see new events added. I hope to see you there!


EVENTS

AUGUST 21, 2018 / New York, NY
7pm: H.I.P. Lit Reading Series at Nowadays Bar

SEPTEMBER 5, 2018 / Toronto, ON
7pm: Reading at Ben McNally Bookstore

SEPTEMBER 12, 2018 / New York, NY
7pm: Reading and conversation with Darin Strauss at McNally Jackson Bookstore

SEPTEMBER 13, 2018 / Brookline, MA
7pm: Reading and conversation with Laura Van Den Berg at Brookline Booksmith

SEPTEMBER 22, 2018 / St. Louis, MO
Panel discussion at Bookfest St Louis

SEPTEMBER 25, 2018 / Providence, RI
Point Street Reading Series at Alchemy

SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 / Elkins Park, PA
8pm: Author Cabaret at St. Paul’s Elkins Park

SEPTEMBER 30, 2018 / Chicago, IL
2pm: Panel discussion at Storystudio Writers’ Festival

OCTOBER 1, 2018 / Chicago, IL
7pm: Reading and conversation with Rebekah Frumkin at Volumes Bookcafe

OCTOBER 12, 2018 / Princeton, NJ
6pm: Reading and conversation with Joyce Carol Oates, Rachel Lyon, and Lillian Li at Labyrinth Books

OCTOBER 13, 2018 / Boston, MA
Panel discussion with Sam Graham-Felsen, Yang Huang, and Fatima Farheen Mirza at Boston Book Festival

New Reviews, Longlist for First Novel Prize

A lot has happened with THE DEVOTED while I’ve been away on a writing residency! Here’s a roundup of some of the most exciting new info and responses to the book:

Kirkus calls THE DEVOTED “A thoughtful exploration of faith, surrender, and ecstasy.”

Booklist gave THE DEVOTED a starred review! Here’s an excerpt:

Hurley’s debut is a breathtaking performance, portraying not just the ugly corners of an abusive relationship but also how faith can color the contours of our lives. With absolutely spot-on descriptions of Boston, this spellbinding story adds much-needed nuance to the discussion of faith and what we’re willing to forsake in the name of absolution.

Library Journal picked THE DEVOTED as one of its Summer/Fall Best Reads and wrote “All lovers of great fiction with complex characters as well as anyone fascinated by narratives about religious cults will want.”

THE DEVOTED is on the Center for Fiction’s longlist for its First Novel Prize! 

I’m so excited to see the responses that have started coming in. Remember that pre-ordering the book on Amazon or with your local Indie bookstore really helps!

News for April: New Publications and Events

April is only half-over and it’s already been an exciting month.

I have a new piece up at Lit Hub about my “touch the bear” rule in writing.

I gave a talk at Grubstreet’s Muse and Marketplace conference on the power of scenes, and how to build more scenes into your stories.

I’m busily writing new essays about my inspiration for The Devoted, from Boston to Buddhism and all the lovely ways they intersect. Look out for those soon.

I have a new piece of flash fiction in the latest issue of the lovely Paper Darts magazine, about autopsies and the strange things I imagined that we inhale over the course of a lifetime.

From My April Newsletter: New Blurbs, and How Easter Inspired The Devoted

In my April newsletter, I release some new advance praise for The Devoted, and talk about Easter and its inspiration for The Devoted. You can subscribe here, or read an excerpt below:

 

Happy Easter and Passover, readers! This month I’m thinking about the holiday that formed such a strong part of my childhood memories, and how I decided to frame The Devoted as a story that stretched from Christmas to Easter, as a story about birth and re-birth. For the non-practicing quasi-Christians out there, maybe you went to church only on those two days out of the year — but that was enough to mean something, to shape your identity in some small way. The Devoted is about those small rituals that give us a sense of identity and bind us to our community; and it’s also about what we choose to take and what we choose to leave behind when we set out on our own paths.

New advance praise for the book:

I’m so grateful to the early readers of The Devoted, and happy to release new blurbs from them:

“The Devoted is a beautifully written story of the seductions of faith, its many desperations both light and dark. A most absorbing and psychologically astute novel that announces Blair Hurley as a brave new talent.”

–    Chang-rae Lee, author of The Surrendered

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THE DEVOTED sold to WW Norton!

I’m so excited to report that my novel, THE DEVOTED, has been acquired by WW Norton. It will be a book! I’ve worked on this story for quite a while and there’s still more work to do in the months ahead. I’ll keep you posted on when to look for it.

Hello from Canada

Hello, readers. It’s official: I’ve moved to Canada for a writing teaching position, and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the culture and literary scene here. The timing is downright odd, I know, and I’ll be writing about my experiences here as well as my thoughts on what it means to be leaving the States at this particular time. You can see some of my first posts on my Medium blog here:

My Medium stories

And here’s an excerpt of my first post:

Hello, Canada! I’m new to you! The timing might seem suspect, an American arriving in Canada just now, after a crazy 2016 and a maddening election season. It’s so suspect, in fact, that I’ve gotten used to shrugging and smiling when people joke about my fleeing the country. But I’m here because my fiancé and I got teaching jobs at a university. This was in the works for nearly a year. So while I watched the election results with the same obsessiveness as all my friends, and bit my nails and watched too much MSNBC, there was always this knowledge in the back of my mind…that I’d be leaving soon. Either I’d be looking proudly on from afar as our first female president set up shop, or, well…I’d be high-tailing it out of there.
I knew I wanted to observe everything that was new to me in Canada as soon as I got here. My job as a newcomer, I think, is to look with big eyes and listen with big ears. To notice the differences and the similarities. And as a writer, my job is to observe and form theories about the national character. To see the contradictions and learn the jokes. To put my foot in it a few times and learn how to step gracefully out again. So this post will be the first of many scattered thoughts and observations about what might become my new home.

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Stay tuned for more thoughts on the writing life from North of the Border, and also come back for some exciting new progress on the novel. More soon.

New Awards and Honors

I’m pleased to report that I’ve had several successes this month with new short stories.

“A Night Odyssey” was a finalist in Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open.

“These Things Happen Here” was a finalist in AWP’s scholarship competition, and judge Lori Ostlund had these kind words for the piece:

Because the world of “These Things Happen Here”—an urban community college classroom—is so familiar to me, I was prepared not to be surprised by the story. How wrong I was. In fact, what was most impressive to me about this story is the way that the author constantly takes risks, writing with great honesty about a main character who is vulnerable and wants what is best for his students but is in way over his head. The unspoken secret of the classroom is that sometimes teachers dislike their students, and this author goes there also, as well as into the complicated relationship between art and revenge. The ending is complex and spot on. Like all great stories, this one stayed with me after the first reading and the second, but the meaning kept shifting, changing and evolving.

“The Deconstruction” was shortlisted for The Masters Review Anthology.

I’ve also been selected as a resident at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and as a scholar at Sewanee Writers’ Conference.