Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  George Saunders  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1958 in Amirillo, Texas


-- Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/GeorgeSaundersFans
-- Website -- http://www.georgesaundersbooks.com/
-- George Saunders on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=george+saunders

E-Mail: -- gwsaunde@syr.edu


Illinois Connection

Saunders grew up near Chicago and graduated from Oak Forest High School in Oak Forest.

Biographical and Professional Information

George Saunders is the author of eight books, including the story collections Pastoralia and Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2006 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2013 he was awarded the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and was included in Time’s list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
ISBN: 1573225797

Riverhead Books. 1997

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tenth of December, a 2013 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction, and the novel Lincoln in the Bardo.

A New York Times Notable Book

Six short stories and a novella. Set in a dystopian near-future in which America has become little more than a theme park in terminal disrepair, they constitute a searching and bitterly humorous commentary on the current state of the American Dream.

Funny, sad, bleak, weird, toxic - the future of America as the Free Market runs rampant,the environment skids into disarray, and civilization dissolves into surreal chaos. These wacky, brilliant, hilarious and entirely original stories cue us in on George Saunder's skewed vision of the legacy we are creating. Against the backdrop of our devolvement, our own worst tendencies and greatest virtues are weirdly illuminated.

Pastoralia
ISBN: 1573228729

Riverhead Books. 2001

A stunning collection including the story "Sea Oak," from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Lincoln in the Bardo and the story collection Tenth of December, a 2013 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.

Hailed by Thomas Pynchon as "graceful, dark, authentic, and funny," George Saunders gives us, in his inventive and beloved voice, this bestselling collection of stories set against a warped, hilarious, and terrifyingly recognizable American landscape.

The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip
ISBN: 0965047628

Villard. 2000

Gappers will get your goat. Literally. If you don't brush them off and return them to the ocean, whence they arrive every day, these bright orange, many-eyed creatures will cover your goats, and the goats will stop giving milk. In a village called Frip, goat's milk was the entire economy. Three families lived there--the Romos, the Ronsens, and a little girl named Capable and her widowed father, who wanted everything to remain the same. It didn't. One day, the Gappers, despite an average IQ of 3.7 (.02), decided for a good reason to concentrate on Capable's goats. Oh, how the Romos and Ronsens turned their backs on the gapper-ridden Capable! Oh, how they indeed lorded it over her! What kinds of creatures are we, one wonders, when such selfishness so often springs up so spontaneously among us? And, given the coldness of her neighbors' shoulders, what will Capable do about her Gapper plague, as her share of the economy dries up? Literally. The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, with a brilliant story by award-ridden short-story master George Saunders and fifty-two haunting and hilarious illustrations by bestseller-plagued artist/author Lane Smith, answers that question. In doing so it tells a tale as ancient as the Bible and as modern as a memo from the Federal Reserve Board. And funnier than both--which isn't saying all that much, admittedly. You don't get to laugh and gaze in visual awe and pleasure all that often when the Golden Rule comes under such serious attack and such staunch defense as it did in Frip. An adult story for children, a children's story for adults, an earthlings' story for aliens, an oceanside fable for the landlocked, a capitalist tool for anarchists, a fish story for loaves, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip represents the classic instant of two young geniuses colliding and colluding. The result is--what else?--an instant classic!

The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil
ISBN: 1594481520

Riverhead Books. 2005

Rare book

In Persuasion Nation
ISBN: 159448242X

Riverhead Books. 2007

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Lincoln in the Bardo and the story collection Tenth of December, a 2013 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.

Talking candy bars, baby geniuses, disappointed mothers, castrated dogs, interned teenagers, and moral fables—all in this hilarious and heartbreaking collection from an author hailed as the heir to Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon.

"The first thing you ought to know is that Saunders is the funniest writer in America... [But] Saunders's laughs are a cover, a diversion, beneath which reside some profoundly serious intentions regarding the morality of how we live and hte power of love and immanent death to transform us into vastly better creatures... I can't think of another writer who would try to do what Saunders is doing, or anything close to it. This is an important book."—The Nation

"Saunders is a hilarious, wicked, and pitch-perfect satirist of our times, of course, but for a satirist he has a whole lot of heart."—Esquire

The Braindead Megaphone
ISBN: 159448256X

Riverhead Books. 2007

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Lincoln in the Bardo and the story collection Tenth of December, a 2013 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.

The breakout book from "the funniest writer in America"--not to mention an official "Genius"--his first nonfiction collection ever.

George Saunders's first foray into nonfiction is comprised of essays on literature, travel, and politics. At the core of this unique collection are Saunders's travel essays based on his trips to seek out the mysteries of the "Buddha Boy" of Nepal to attempt to indulge in the extravagant pleasures of Dubai and to join the exploits of the minutemen at the Mexican border. Saunders expertly navigates the works of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, and Esther Forbes, and leads the reader across the rocky political landscape of modern America. Emblazoned with his trademark wit and singular vision, Saunders's endeavor into the art of the essay is testament to his exceptional range and ability as a writer and thinker.

Tenth of December: Stories
ISBN: 0812984250

Random House Trade Paperbacks. 2014

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
People • The New York Times Magazine • NPR • Entertainment Weekly • New York • The Telegraph • BuzzFeed • Kirkus Reviews • BookPage • Shelf Awareness

Includes an extended conversation with David Sedaris


One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet.

In the taut opener, “Victory Lap,” a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In “Home,” a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded owner of an antiques store two mothers struggling to do the right thing a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush with reality a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments that force him to lust, to love, to kill—the unforgettable characters that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders’s signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.

Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human.

Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December—through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit—not only entertain and delight they fulfill Chekhov’s dictum that art should “prepare us for tenderness.”

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“The best book you’ll read this year.”The New York Times Magazine

“A feat of inventiveness . . . This eclectic collection never ceases to delight with its at times absurd, surreal, and darkly humorous look at very serious subjects. . . . George Saunders makes you feel as though you are reading fiction for the first time.”—Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner

“The best short-story writer in English—not ‘one of,’ not ‘arguably,’ but the Best.”—Mary Karr, Time

“A visceral and moving act of storytelling . . . No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Saunders’s startling, dreamlike stories leave you feeling newly awakened to the world.”People

GEORGE SAUNDERS WAS NAMED ONE OF THE 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD BY TIME MAGAZINE

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel
ISBN: 0812985400

Random House Trade Paperbacks. 2018

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented

Named One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, USA Today, and Maureen Corrigan, NPR • One of Time’s Ten Best Novels of the Year • A New York Times Notable Book

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Lincoln in the Bardo
is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

“A luminous feat of generosity and humanism.”—Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review


“A masterpiece.”Zadie Smith


Awards

MacArthur Fellowship;Guggenheim Fellowship;Lannan Fellowship;O'Henry Man Booker Prize, "Lincoln in the Bardo"

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)