If you don’t know Annie Hartnett  yet, you will. The rising literary star is the author of two acclaimed novels, RABBIT CAKE (Tin House Books, 2017) and UNLIKELY ANIMALS (Ballantine/Random House, 2022).

Unlikely Animals was the April 2022 book club selection for Good Housekeeping magazine and Amerie’s Book Club. It received starred reviews from Booklist and Bookpage, and was an April Indie Next pick.

Rabbit Cake was listed as one of Kirkus Reviews‘ Best Books of 2017, was a finalist for the New England Book Award, an Indies Introduce and an Indie Next Pick, and was long-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize.  It received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal, and was People magazine’s Book of the Week. It is currently under option with Amazon Studios (more on that here!).

We’re thrilled to welcome Annie Hartnett to Career Authors. And if you haven’t read her work, now’s the time.

  1. What book changed your life? 

The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories edited by Ben Marcus. This was my introduction in college to many of my favorites—George Saunders, Aimee Bender, A.M. Homes—and it made me want to be a writer, too. I would not be a writer if it weren’t for that class or that professor, Chris Kennedy.

  1. Was your first published book the first manuscript you ever wrote? 

Yes. I mean, it went through hundreds of drafts first, but yes. And it was always called Rabbit Cake, from the first day I started writing it.

  1. Stephen King says, “The hardest part is just before you start.” What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Coming up with a new idea.

  1. Do you know the story’s ending before you start? 

Sometimes with a short story, but never with a novel.

  1. When you’re having a difficult writing day, what do you tell yourself to get through it? 

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” –Terry Pratchett

  1. Do you read your reviews? 

Yup. Some of them are nice!

  1. Besides being persistent and correcting your spelling errors, what’s your best advice for a new author? 

Have a routine. Doesn’t have to be every day, but guardrails are good for creativity.

  1. What’s your definition of writer misery? 

When you plan to write during your child’s nap and your child won’t nap.

  1. What’s your definition of writer happiness? 

A full day to write.

  1. What’s your favorite book on writing? 

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders

  1. What book are you reading right now?

Walk the Vanished Earth by Erin Swan


Annie Hartnett is the author of novels Rabbit Cake (Tin House Books, 2017) and Unlikely Animals (Ballantine/Random House, 2022). She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Associates of the Boston Public Library. She studied philosophy at Hamilton College, has an MA from Middlebury College, and an MFA from the University of Alabama. When she began writing Unlikely Animals, she was living in the groundskeeper’s house in a cemetery. She now lives in Lakeville, Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and darling border collie.