Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  David Sedaris  

Pen Name: None


Born: 1956 in Binghamton, New York


Illinois Connection

Sedaris moved to Chicago in 1983. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute in 1987. He also taught writing at School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a short time.

Biographical and Professional Information

David Sedaris is a Grammy Award-nominated humorist, writer, comedian, bestselling author, and radio contributor.Sedaris was raised in a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1983, he moved to Chicago and graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987. While working a string of odd jobs across Raleigh, Chicago and New York City, Sedaris was discovered reading his diary in a Chicago club by radio host Ira Glass, who asked Sedaris to appear on his weekly local program ''The Wild Room''. His success there led to a monthly segment for National Public Radio based on entries in his diary.His first collection of short stories, entitled ''Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays'', was published in 1994 and became a national best-seller. Sedaris has also been published in print and online by ''Esquire Magazine'', ''Slate'', the ''New York Times'', and ''The New Yorker''. He has written six plays, five with his sister Amy Sedaris (some under the pen name of ''The Talent Family'') including ''The Little Frieda Mysteries'', ''Stump the Host'', ''Stitches'', ''One Woman Shoe'', ''Incident at Cobbler's Knob'', and ''The Book of Liz''. In 2005 Sedaris edited ''Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules'', an anthology of stories from his favorite authors. Most of his books are available in a CD format and there are also four audio collections, ''Live at Carnegie Hall'', ''The Ultimate David Sedaris Boxed Set'', ''The David Sedaris Box Set'' and ''Live for Your Listening Pleasure''. ''Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim'' was nominated for a Grammy Award in for best spoken-word album, and ''David Sedaris: Live at Carnegie Hall'' received a Grammy nomination for best comedy album.He currently resides in England.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Barrel Fever
ISBN: 0349119767


In David Sedaris's world, no one is safe and no cow is sacred. Sedaris's collection of essays and stories is a rollicking tour through the national Zeitgeist: a do-it-yourself suburban dad saves money by performing home surgery

a man who is loved too much flees the heavyweight champion of the world

a teenage suicide tries to incite a lynch mob at her funeral

a bitter Santa abuses the elves. With a perfect eye and a voice infused with as much empathy as wit, Sedaris writes stories and essays that target the soulful ridiculousness of our behavior. Barrel Fever is like a blind date with modern life, and anything can happen.

The Santaland Diaries
ISBN: 057540261X

Orion mass market paperback. 2000

Holidays on Ice collects six of David Sedaris's most profound Christmas stories into one slender volume perfect for use as a last-minute coaster or ice scraper. This drinking man's companion can be enjoyed by the warmth of a raging fire, the glow of a brilliantly decorated tree, or even in the backseat of a van or police car. It should be read with your eyes, felt with your heart, and heard only when spoken to. It should, in short, behave much like a book. And, oh, what a book it is!

ISBN: 0753812487

Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ). 2001

A collection of humorous stories, where the author takes to the road with a thieving quadriplegic, sorts out the fancy from the extra-fancy in a bleak fruit-packing factory, and confronts his naked self in the mirrored sunglasses of a lunatic.

Holidays on Ice
ISBN: 0316078913

Back Bay Books. 2010

David Sedaris's beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy's elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris's tales of tardy trick-or-treaters ("Us and Them")

the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French ("Jesus Shaves")

what to do when you've been locked out in a snowstorm ("Let It Snow")

the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations ("Six to Eight Black Men")

what Halloween at the medical examiner's looks like ("The Monster Mash")

and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry ("Cow and Turkey").

No matter what your favorite holiday, you won't want to miss celebrating it with the author who has been called "one of the funniest writers alive" (Economist).

Me Talk Pretty One Day (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
ISBN: 0613674650

Turtleback Books. 2001

FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. The bestselling author of Naked presents a savagely funny collection of stories, including pieces about his sojourn in Paris, as well as those that have been featured in The New Yorker, Esquire, and on National Public Radio.

Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim
ISBN: 0316057894

Back Bay/Little, Brown & Co.. 2004

3 book set

When You Are Engulfed in Flames
ISBN: 0316143472

Little, Brown and Company. 2008

"David Sedaris's ability to transform the mortification of everyday life into wildly entertaining art," (The Christian Science Monitor) is elevated to wilder and more entertaining heights than ever in this remarkable new book.
Trying to make coffee when the water is shut off, David considers using the water in a vase of flowers and his chain of associations takes him from the French countryside to a hilariously uncomfortable memory of buying drugs in a mobile home in rural North Carolina. In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life-having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger on a plane or armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds-to the most deeply resonant human truths. Culminating in a brilliant account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection is a new masterpiece of comic writing from "a writer worth treasuring" (Seattle Times).

Praise for When You Are Engulfed in Flames:

"Older, wiser, smarter and meaner, Sedaris...defies the odds once again by delivering an intelligent take on the banalities of an absurd life." --Kirkus Reviews

This latest collection proves that not only does Sedaris still have it, but he's also getting better....Sedaris's best stuff will still--after all this time--move, surprise, and entertain." --Booklist

Table of Contents:

It's Catching
Keeping Up
The Understudy
This Old House
Buddy, Can You Spare a Tie?
Road Trips
What I Learned
That's Amore
The Monster Mash
In the Waiting Room
Solutions to Saturday's Puzzle
Adult Figures Charging Toward a Concrete Toadstool
Memento Mori
All the Beauty You Will Ever Need
Town and Country
The Man in the Hut
Of Mice and Men
April in Paris
Old Faithful
The Smoking Section

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary
ISBN: 0316038407

Back Bay Books. 2011

Featuring David Sedaris's unique blend of hilarity and heart, this new illustrated collection of animal-themed tales is an utter delight. Though the characters may not be human, the situations in these stories bear an uncanny resemblance to the insanity of everyday life.

In "The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck," three strangers commiserate about animal bureaucracy while waiting in a complaint line. In "Hello Kitty," a cynical feline struggles to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings. In "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk," a pair of star-crossed lovers is separated by prejudiced family members.

With original illustrations by Ian Falconer, author of the bestselling Olivia series of children's books, these stories are David Sedaris at his most observant, poignant, and surprising.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls
ISBN: 0316154695

Little, Brown and Company. 2013

A guy walks into a bar car and...

From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.

Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy.

With Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris shows once again why his work has been called "hilarious, elegant, and surprisingly moving" (Washington Post).

Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)
ISBN: 0316154725

Little, Brown and Company. 2017

One of the most anticipated books of 2017: Boston Globe, New York Times Book Review, New York's "Vulture", The Week, Bustle, BookRiot

An NPR Best Book of 2017
An AV Club Favorite Book of 2017
A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2017
A Goodreads Choice Awards nominee

David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making.

For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.

Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.

Written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable, and with a generosity of spirit that even a misanthropic sense of humor can't fully disguise, Theft By Finding proves that Sedaris is one of our great modern observers. It's a potent reminder that when you're as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, there's no such thing as a boring day.


-- '''''Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim''''' -- *Lambda Literary Award for Humor, 2005

-- '''''Me Talk Pretty One Day''''' -- *Lambda Literary Award for Humor, 2001

-- *James Thurber Prize for American Humor, 2001