Minot was born in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. Her father George Richards Minot was born in 1927 and worked as a banker and stock broker in Boston. Her mother born Helen Ruth Hannon in 1929, known as Carrie Minot, was a mother and homemaker, was killed January 16, 1978 when the car she was driving was hit at a train crossing, the signals being down after an ice storm. She has three sisters: Carrie Minot Bell, an artist; Dinah Minot Hubley, a photographer and non-profit manager; Eliza Minot Price, a novelist, and three brothers George Minot, a novelist, nutritionist and yoga teacher; Sam Minot, a painter; and Christopher Minot, an artist and museum installer. She graduated from Concord Academy in 1974 and then attended Brown University, where she studied writing and painting. In 1983 she graduated from Columbia University School of the Arts with an M.F.A. in creative writing.
Minot's first book, Monkeys, won the 1987 Prix Femina Étranger in France and was published in a dozen countries. Her other books all published internationally are Lust & Other Stories, Folly, Evening, Rapture, Poems 4 A.M. and Thirty Girls.
In 1984, she received the first prize in Pushcart Prize for her story "Hiding." Among the anthologies her fiction has been included in are: The Best American Short Stories 1984 and 1985, the Pen/ O Henry Prize Stories: 1985, 1989 and in 2011 for her story "Pole, Pole".
Minot's poems and stories have been published in The New Yorker, Grand Street, The Paris Review, GQ, Kenyon Review, River City, New England Review, Swink, Mississippi Review, H.O.W., British Marie Claire, Fiction, Northwest Humanities Review and Atlantic Monthly.
Her non-fiction and travel writing have appeared in The Best American Travel Writing 2001 and McSweeney's, New York Times, Paris Review, Vogue, Travel and Leisure, Esquire, American Scholar, House & Garden, Condé Nast Traveller, Victoria, and Porter Magazine.
Minot's book of poems Poems 4 AM was published in 2002.
The Little Locksmith, a play based on the book by Katharine Butler Hathaway (1942) was performed in North Haven, Maine in 2002, starringLinda Hunt.
Themes and criticism
Time, death and desire are main themes in Minot's work. Sexuality and relationships, both romantic and familial are being explored. Her second book, Lust & Other Stories, focuses on "the relations between men and women in their twenties and thirties having difficulty coming together and difficulty breaking apart". Reviewing her novella Rapture in The Atlantic Monthly, James Marcus notes that "Sex and the single girl have seldom been absent from Susan Minot's fiction", and Dave Welch at Powells.com identifies one of Minot's themes as "the emotional safeguards within family and romantic relations that hold people apart". About Lust, Jill Franks observes that Minot
"begins with short, simple sentences, building gradually to longer ones to create the inevitable conclusion: men don't love like women do."
In "Folly" a Bostonian woman of privileged background is involved with two different men as she tries to find equilibrium with her society and family in the era between the world wars. "Evening" is the story of a woman on her deathbed looking back over her whole life, but returning specifically to a wedding weekend forty years earlier when she fell in love and certain paths in her life were decided. It was nominated for Los Angeles Times Nook Award. "Thirty Girls" is the story of two women: one a young Ugandan girl of 15 who has escaped from living two years with armed bandits of the LRA led by Joseph Kony after being kidnapped from her Catholic boarding school in northern Uganda and is recuperating in a bare bones rehabilitation camp and the other, an American writer, traveling with free spirits on a journalist trip to Uganda to report on the story of the abducted children.
Minot was married in 1991 to Davis McHenry and divorced in 1993. She lived with her second husband, Charles Pingree of North Haven, Maine from 2000 to 2009. Their daughter Ava Minot Pingree was born in 2001. She lives with her daughter in New York City and on the island of North Haven.
Novels and stories
- Monkeys. New York: Dutton, 1986. ISBN 978-0-525-24342-7
- Lust & Other Stories. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. ISBN 978-0-395-48888-1
- Folly Washington Square Press, 1994. ISBN 978-0-7927-1565-8
- Evening. New York: Knopf, 1998. ISBN 978-0-375-40037-7
- Rapture. New York: Knopf, 2002. ISBN 978-0-375-41327-8
- Thirty Girls. New York: Knopf, 2014. ISBN 978-0-307-26638-5
- Stealing Beauty. With Bernardo Bertolucci. New York: Grove Press, 1996. ISBN 978-0-8021-3492-9
- Evening. With Michael Cunningham. 2007.
- A Family History in Rewrite - The New York Times Retrieved 2017-04-14.
- "Author Spotlight: Susan Minot". Knopf Doubleday. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- "Susan Minot". Random House. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- Weber, Bruce. "For Art, Not Profit". New York Times. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- "The O.Henry Prize Stories". Random House. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- "Susan Minot". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- "Susan Minot". New York University. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- "Faculty and Visiting Faculty". Stony Brook University. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- Marcus, James (February 2002). "New and Noteworthy: Rapture". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- Welch, Dave (13 February 2002). "Back in Bed with Susan Minot". Powells.com. Archived from the original on 1 October 2002. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- Franks, Jill. "Susan (Anderson) Minot Biography". Retrieved 2008-08-30.
- Rocco, Fiammetta (February 14, 2014). "Child, Slave, Soldier: 'Thirty Girls,' by Susan Minot". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2016.