George Saunders is the author of the short story collections “Pastoralia,” “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline” (both New York Times Notable Books) and, most recently, “In Persuasion Nation.” “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline” was a Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. “In Persuasion Nation” was one of three finalists for the 2006 STORY Prize for best short story collection of the year. Saunders is also the author of the novella-length illustrated fable, “The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil” the New York Times bestselling children’s book, “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip,” illustrated by Lane Smith, (which has won major children’s literature prizes in Italy and the Netherlands), and, most recently, a book of essays,“The Braindead Megaphone.”
His work appears regularly in The New Yorker, GQ, and Harpers Magazine, and has appeared in the O’Henry, “Best American Short Story,” “Best Non-Required Reading,” and “Best American Travel Writing” anthologies. In support of his books, he has appeared on The Charlie Rose Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and The Colbert Report.
Writing for GQ, he has traveled to Africa with Bill Clinton, reported on Nepal ‘s “Buddha Boy” (who is said to have gone without food or water for months on end), driven the length of the Mexican border, spent a week in the theme hotels of Dubai, and lived incognito in a homeless tent city in Fresno, California .
In 2001, Saunders was selected by Entertainment Weekly as one of the 100 top most creative people in entertainment, and by The New Yorker in 2002 and one of the best writers 40 and under. In 2006, he was awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2009 he received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University. (Photo credit: Caitlin Saunders)