Nathan Hill


Nathan Hill is the author of The Nix and Wellness. His latest work, Wellness, is a poignant and witty novel about marriage, the often baffling pursuit of health and happiness, and the stories that bind us together. From the gritty ’90s Chicago art scene to a suburbia of detox diets and home-renovation hysteria, Wellness reimagines the love story with a healthy dose of insight, irony, and heart. Threading together themes of digital connectivity, toxic self-care culture, and the endless pursuit of real happiness, Wellness is garnering rave reviews ahead of its September 2023 release.

Hill’s debut as a published writer was fearless and bold. His New York Times-bestselling book, The Nix, wowed critics nationwide and earned Hill comparisons to literary greats such as Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace. The book was quickly optioned for a TV miniseries, with Meryl Streep and J.J. Abrams attached to the project. Named the number one book of 2016 by Entertainment Weekly and one of the year’s best books by The New York Times, it was also the winner of the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction from the Los Angeles Times and was published worldwide in more than two dozen languages.

A generous and funny speaker, Hill’s talks about his early beginnings as a short story writer are filled with both quirky and brutal truths. A sharp social observer, he also reflects on the glittering beauty and the numbing absurdity of modern pop and media culture, as well as the place that technology holds in all of our lives.

Hill holds a BA in English and Journalism from the University of Iowa and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. His short stories have appeared in many literary journals, including The Iowa Review, AGNI, The Gettysburg Review, and Fiction, where he was awarded the annual Fiction Prize.

Speaking Topics

The Truth of Wellness 
In this wide-ranging lecture based on his new novel Wellness, Nathan Hill teases out how the relentless march of time, technological change, and our societal obsession with optimization intersect with one couple and their marriage, as their pursuit of happiness reveals the gaps between who they say they are, who they believe themselves to be, and who they actually are. Turning the traditional love story on its head, Hill explores the themes that animate his highly anticipated new novel, from our collective anxieties around truth and delusion, fake news, and social media algorithms to placebo effects and wellness culture.

Ten Years In The Making
Nathan Hill’s first draft of The Nix was 1,002 pages long, and took ten years to write. In his lecture, he will discuss the very odd circumstances that inspired the novel, explain why he included so many different subjects, and take the audience through the writing process that sustained him for a decade.

X-Ray Writing
One of the unique joys of reading literature is that it allows us to experience what it might be like to be someone else. Literature can be like an x-ray, peering past the façade and seeing all the secrets hidden underneath. This lecture (and PowerPoint presentation) focuses on ways to achieve this kind of “x-ray writing,” looking especially at discoveries from the fields of psychology and neurobiology and what insights they offer writers.

Praise for WELLNESS

“A hilarious and moving exploration of a modern marriage that astounds in its breadth and intimacy.” —Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half

Wellness is such a beautiful, sometimes sad, sometimes satirical but most of all honest book about the many people a person becomes—the way a life, in time, inevitably upends itself. A love story of dislodged chronology, Nathan Hill’s brilliant interrogation of a single relationship spiderwebs out into almost every facet of our contemporary anxieties. Few writers working today have dissected, with such a sharp scalpel, the fundamental paradox of modern American life: this hopelessly broken need to fix what may not need fixing, to reach with utter desperation for a version of better that may not be better at all. Read Wellness with caution: it lays so much of our little self-deceptions bare.” — Omar El Akkad, author of American War

“Nathan Hill has synthesized about a hundred years of that distinctly American delusion called self-improvement, and Wellness is the whip smart and gently comic result. Epic in scope, domestic in scale, it’s a book that defies anyone to read it and willingly pick up a dumbbell or worry about counting steps ever again. Hill has released you, America, and his book will leave you not only fortified but amazed.” —Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End

Wellness is one of the funniest, saddest, smartest novels I’ve ever read. In his portrait of one foundering marriage, Nathan Hill has encapsulated the pathologies and possibilities of our troubled era. With his razor-sharp satire and heartbreaking pathos, his stylistic virtuosity and human warmth, Hill has written both a propulsive page-turner and an artistic achievement of the highest order. I didn’t think I could love a book more than The Nix until I read Wellness. It’s a flat-out masterpiece.”—Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

“Ambitious, deeply engrossing, whip-smart and ultimately heartbreaking, Nathan Hill’s Wellness is all this and much more.” —Richard Russo, author of the North Bath Trilogy

“Warmhearted . . . A bittersweet novel of love gained, lost, and regained over the course of decades.” Kirkus Reviews

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