The quirky and award-winning George Saunders returns to his undergrad stomping grounds on September 20 and 21 for our Writer’s Studio. The weekend includes a craft talk, interview, and dinner with Saunders, and an exclusive VIP gathering (available only through sponsorship!).
Saunders was recently awarded The Story Prize and The Folio Prize for his collection of short stories, Tenth of December. He's also been a finalist for The Story Prize in the past for his collection In Persuasion Nation and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award with CivilWarLand in Bad Decline.
Saunders has also written screenplays, an illustrated fable, a book of essays, and a New York Times bestselling children's book. He writes for The New Yorker and GQ, and his work has appeared in Best American Short Stories and a number of other anthologies. In 2006, he was awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship, and has taught at Syracuse University since 1996.
Saunders was born in Amarillo, Texas, grew up in Chicago, and graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a degree in exploration geophysics. He worked in Sumatra as a field geophysicist, and after a year and a half returned to the states to write and worked a slew of diverse jobs—including a doorman, a roofer, a convenience store clerk, a slaughterhouse worker, and technical writer.
PRAISE for TENTH OF DECEMBER
"George Saunders—the beloved cult author known for surreal short stories about American nuttiness — is the master of joy bombs: little explosions of grin-stimulating genius that he buries throughout his deeply thoughtful, endlessly entertaining flights of imagination. His fourth story collection, Tenth of December, brims with laboriously constructed nuggets that will make you beam with unmitigated glee. . . . an irresistible mix of humor and humanity.”
“A book for everyone from serious students of the American short story to those folks just looking for a good read. . . Saunders is one of the most gifted and seriously successful comic short story writers working in America today. . . He's a Vonnegutian in his soul and, paradoxically, a writer like no one but himself.”
—Alan Cheuse, NPR "All Things Considered"
“No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised, those Americans who struggle to pay the bills, make the rent, hold onto a job they might detest — folks who find their dreams slipping from their grasp as they frantically tread water, trying to keep from drowning. . . . It’s a measure of Mr. Saunders’s talents as a writer — his brassy language, his narrative instincts, his bone-deep understanding of his characters — that he takes what might have been a contrived and sentimental parable and turns it into a visceral and moving act of storytelling.”
—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
PRAISE for CIVILWARLAND IN BAD DECLINE
"(Saunders) has created a surreal, weirdly persuasive picture of the devolved future now taking shape in our own worst and most potent tendencies."
PRAISE for THE VERY PERSISTENT GAPPERS OF FRIP
"A wonderfully engaging story for our children, and for us—their parents and teachers—told with wry humor and with moral energy. We all live in this book's world of Frip—and are connected to others in that world, no matter their nature, so we're prompted to remember by a talented writer."
Past Writer's Studio Guests:
Mark DotyJunot Diaz