Bestselling author George Saunders will speak at Drake University on April 23 as part of the Writers and Critics Series. The event — which is free and open to the public — will start at 7 p.m. at Bulldog Theater in Olmsted Center and is sponsored by the Drake University English Department and The Center for the Humanities.
Saunders is the author of three collections of short stories: the bestselling Pastoralia; PEN/Hemingway Award finalist CivilWarLand in Bad Decline; and In Persuasion Nation, one of three finalists for the 2006 STORY Prize for best short story collection of the year. His children’s book, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, was on the New York Times bestsellers list and his most recent book of essays, The Braindead Megaphone, received critical acclaim. His work frequently appears in The New Yorker, GQ and Harpers Magazine. In 2006, he was awarded both a MacArthur Fellowship and Guggenheim Fellowship. Currently, he teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.
“Saunders has a cult-like following in literary circles, not merely because his work is extraordinarily funny,” says Sarah Hogan, visiting assistant professor of English. “It engages — satirically and compassionately — with some of the most pressing matters of our time, like the devaluation of lives in a culture of consumption, or the divisive political culture that accompanied the War on Terror. Indeed, he’s a staple on English department syllabi, so there’s a lot of campus excitement about the opportunity to meet a very popular, incisive writer.”