Academics and Research

Creative writing professor garners global acclaim for most recent novel

For more than 20 years, University of Denver English professor and award-winning author Laird Hunt has shared his short stories, mock parables and historical narratives with audiences in Europe, Asia and the United States. He has explored varied themes and important issues through his many contributions to the postmodern literary movement.

Hunt first discovered his talent for creative writing after he graduated from Indiana University, and he hasn’t put down the pen since.

“I really started writing seriously when I graduated from college and went to teach in Japan,” he says. “I think I decided I had some ability at that point because I never stopped, and that was more than 20 years ago.”

Hunt’s most recent novel, “Neverhome” (2014), follows the story of a woman who disguises herself as a man to fight for the Union Army during the American Civil War. The book has garnered positive reviews in outlets such as The New York Times, and foreign-language editions are forthcoming in Spain, France, Italy and Germany.

“Neverhome” is not the only novel for which Hunt has earned international praise. “Kind One” (2012) received the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the prestigious Pen/Faulkner Award in Fiction.

Laird Hunt will read from and discuss “Neverhome” on Friday, Oct. 16, as part of the “Book Chat” author series at Homecoming and Family Weekend. Other DU authors scheduled to appear on Oct. 16 and 17 include Bin Ramke, Kristen Iversen, Sandra Dallas and Clark Davis. Visit the Homecoming website for more information.

Hunt has shared his knowledge and passion for writing as a faculty member of DU’s creative writing program since 2004. The program, which was founded shortly after World War II, is one of the oldest PhD-granting creative writing programs in the country, and was rated the No. 1 such program in 2012 by Poets & Writers Magazine.

Hunt also serves as editor of the Denver Quarterly, an internationally recognized literary magazine, based at DU, that publishes poetry, fiction, criticism, reviews, interviews and translations.

Many of Hunt’s students have gone on to do great things upon graduating from DU, including founding publishing houses, writing books and getting MFAs at top schools.

Even with his experience as a renowned author, Hunt still finds himself learning from his students.

“I love the conversation with smart young people about books I love,” he says. “Even when they don’t love them as much as I do, I find the back and forth rewarding. I am always learning from my students. I hope it goes the other way, too.”


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