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INconversation with Tess Gunty

Hosted by Indiana Humanities

Celebrate the paperback release of the National Book Award-winning novel, The Rabbit Hutch, by Indiana author Tess Gunty!

July 17, 2023
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm EDT
Indiana Landmarks
1201 Central Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Event Details

Join Indiana Humanities and the Indiana Authors Awards for a conversation between National Book Award winner Tess Gunty and Indiana author Susan Neville at the Indiana Landmarks Center on Monday, July 17, at 6:30pm Eastern.


6:00pm | Doors open

6:30pm | INconversation with Tess Gunty begins

7:15pm | Q&A begins

7:30pm | Book signing begins

South Bend-native Tess Gunty’s debut novel, The Rabbit Hutch, won the 2022 National Book Award for fiction. Set during one sweltering week in July and culminating in a bizarre act of violence, The Rabbit Hutch explores the interconnected stories of residents of a low-cost housing complex in the fictional city of Vacca Vale, Indiana. Loosely based on her hometown of South Bend, Gunty’s Vacca Vale is filled with distinct characters and vivid imagery of the post-industrial Midwest. Both intimate and sweeping, The Rabbit Hutch explores dialectical themes of loneliness and community, entrapment and freedom, religious dogma and mysticism.

Gunty’s novel also won the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize and the Barnes and Noble Discover Prize. It was named one of twelve essential reads by The New Yorker, and a best book of the year by TIME, NPR, the Chicago Tribune, People, the New York Times and others. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Granta, LitHub, Joyland, Freeman’s and elsewhere. Gunty received an undergraduate degree from Notre Dame University and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU, where she was a Lillian Vernon Fellow. She now lives in Los Angeles.

Gunty will be joined in conversation with Indiana author and Butler University professor emerita, Susan Neville, who writes essays and stories inspired by the history, culture and people of Indiana. In 2022, her book of short stories, The Town of Whispering Dolls, a book which also explores post-industrial America through the lens of a fictional Indiana town, won the Indiana Authors Award for fiction. Neville graduated from North Central High School in Indianapolis, DePauw University, Bowling Green State University, and in 2021 retired from teaching at Butler University after 38 years. She lives in Indianapolis.

Held in partnership between Indiana Humanities and the Indiana State Library’s Center for the Book, this event coincides with the paperback release of The Rabbit Hutch and the upcoming National Book Festival. The novel has been selected by the Indiana Center for the Book as the state’s 2023 contribution to the Library of Congress’s Great Reads from Great Places program held at the Festival.

Books by both authors will be available for purchase with a book signing to follow.

About Indiana Humanities  Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. Learn more at www.IndianaHumanities.org.

About the Indiana Authors Awards The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards honor the best books written by Indiana authors. Awarded every two years, they celebrate Indiana writers, shine a light on the Hoosier state’s literary community and deepen connections between Indiana writers and readers. They were established in 2009 as a vision of Eugene and Marilyn Glick and are a new component of Indiana Humanities’ rich and diverse literary programming.

About the Indiana Center for the Book  The Indiana Center for the Book is a program of the Indiana State Library and an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. It promotes interest in reading, writing, literacy, libraries, and Indiana’s literary heritage by sponsoring events and serving as an information resource at the state and local level. The Center supports both the professional endeavors and the popular pursuits of Indiana’s residents toward reading and writing.

About the Indiana State Library The Indiana State Library serves Indiana residents, leads and supports Indiana’s library community and preserves Indiana’s history. Learn more at www.in.gov/library.

About the National Book Festival The 23rd annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, August 12, from 9am to 8pm (doors open at 8:30pm). The event is free and open to the public. A selection of programs will be livestreamed online, and videos of all programs will be available shortly after the Festival.