Interview: Author ‘Tara Isabella Burton’ Talks Her Thrilling New Book Social Creature

credit Rose Callahan

Tara Isabella Burton has followed a female hermit into the remote Caucasus, gotten love amulets from Turkish Islamic shamans, and held signs with the street preachers of Las Vegas. Her work on religion, culture, and place can be found at National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, The Economist’s 1843, Aeon, The BBC, The Atlantic, The American Interest, Salon, The New Statesman, The Telegraph, and more. Her fiction can or shall be found in ​Granta, Volume 1 Brooklyn, The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts, Great Jones Street, Tor.com, PANK, Shimmer, and other places. She has received The Spectator’s 2012 Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and a 2016 Lowell Thomas Award.

​Her first novel, Social Creature, is forthcoming from Doubleday (US) and Bloomsbury/Raven (UK) in June 2018, and will be translated into nine more languages, including Italian, French, and Russian. She is also working on a non-fiction book about new religious and “replacement religion” movements, Strange Rites: Cults and Subcultures After the Death of God, to be published by Public Affairs in 2019. Tara recently completed a doctorate in theology as a Clarendon Scholar at Trinity College, Oxford. She is currently a staff writer on the religion beat at Vox.

Check out her website here and Twitter. The book is in stores on Tuesday, June 5. You can listen to the interview below.

They go through both bottles of champagne right there on the High Line, with nothing but the stars over them… They drink and Lavinia tells Louise about all the places they will go together, when they finish their stories, when they are both great writers-to Paris and to Rome and to Trieste…Lavinia will never go. She is going to die soon.

Louise has nothing. Lavinia has everything. After a chance encounter, the two spiral into an intimate, intense, and possibly toxic friendship. A Talented Mr. Ripley for the digital age, this seductive story takes a classic tale of obsession and makes it irresistibly new.

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