American Misadventure with Nathan Hill
Critics have likened him to John Irving; Irving has likened him to Charles Dickens; and Dickens, though very much dead, might have appreciated the humour, heart and panoramic scope of his work. Nathan Hill is the American writer of the moment.
His debut novel, The Nix, is a sprawling, postmodern social satire that skewers contemporary American politics, media and academia. In 2016, it made Hill a star; publication rights of the book have sold in 16 countries, amid some furious bidding wars. The book is remarkably of its time – featuring a viral video firestorm and a populist presidential candidate bearing more than a passing resemblance to one Donald Trump. The New York Times has described The Nix as a ‘supersize and audacious novel of American misadventure’.
Hill’s novel – at times surreal and dystopian – has arrived at an extraordinary moment in American political history. Listen to him in conversation with Louise Swinn, where he talks about the process of writing the book (in longhand, no less), and the surprising people and experiences that prompted its characters and settings.
Nathan Hill was born in Iowa in 1975 and lives with his wife in Naples, Florida. The Nix is his first novel.
Louise Swinn is a writer, publisher, critic, literary event chair and the editor of Choice Words: A Collection of Writing About Abortion (Allen and Unwin, 2019). Her work appears regularly in the Age, the Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. She was one of the founders of Sleepers Publishing, the Small Press Network and the Stella Prize.