Samuel Martin grew up north of Lake Ontario, in a place Canadian poet Al Purdy described as “a little adjacent to where the world is / a little north of where the cities are.” Following an obsession with dark rural stories sparked by reading Flannery O’Connor as an undergrad, Martin completed an M.A. in creative writing at the University of Toronto, where he worked with renowned novelist David Adams Richards, before pursuing a Ph.D. at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s.

While living in St. John’s, Martin published the story collection This Ramshackle Tabernacle (2010), a finalist for the BMO Winterset Award, and the novel A Blessed Snarl (2012), nominated for the International Dublin IMPAC Award. After serving as Fogo Island Arts inaugural writer-in-residence, he took a tenure-track job at a small liberal arts college in northwest Iowa, earning both tenure and a Hollywood-based Cinematic Short Story Award in 2018.

In 2021, Martin left the academy to pursue a teaching career in high school English with the hope of helping so-called hard-to-reach students find their own paths forward through literature and writing.