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George Saunders (1) (1958–)

Author of Lincoln in the Bardo

For other authors named George Saunders, see the disambiguation page.

44+ Works 20,480 Members 877 Reviews 91 Favorited

About the Author

George Saunders is the author of CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia. (Publisher Provided) George Saunders was born in Amarillo, Texas on December 2, 1958. He received a bachelor's degree in geophysical engineering and a master's degree in creative writing from Syracuse University. He is a show more professor at Syracuse University and a writer of short stories, essays, novellas, and children's books. He won the National Magazine Award for fiction in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2004 His books include CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, Pastoralia, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, In Persuasion Nation, and Tenth of December: Stories, which won the inaugural Folio Prize in 2014. His debut novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, received the Man Booker Prize in 2017. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by George Saunders

Lincoln in the Bardo (2017) 5,769 copies
Tenth of December: Stories (2013) 3,808 copies
Pastoralia (2000) 2,361 copies
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline (1996) 2,029 copies
In Persuasion Nation (2006) 1,097 copies
The Braindead Megaphone (2007) 773 copies
Fox 8 {story} (2013) 604 copies
Liberation Day: Stories (2022) 512 copies

Associated Works

The Collected Stories (1994) — Introduction, some editions — 944 copies
My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead (2008) — Contributor — 763 copies
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006 (2006) — Contributor — 757 copies
The Book of Other People (2008) — Contributor — 741 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 697 copies
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 615 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2008 (2008) — Contributor — 572 copies
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008 (2008) — Contributor — 467 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2012 (2012) — Contributor — 360 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2011 (2011) — Contributor — 352 copies
Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology (2006) — Contributor — 308 copies
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010 (2010) — Contributor — 302 copies
100 Years of the Best American Short Stories (2015) — Contributor — 286 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2013 (2013) — Contributor — 279 copies
The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories (2004) — Contributor — 262 copies
The New Granta Book of the American Short Story (2007) — Contributor — 212 copies
The Best American Travel Writing 2006 (2006) — Contributor — 205 copies
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 (2012) — Contributor — 199 copies
The Secret History of Science Fiction (2009) — Contributor — 196 copies
The Best American Travel Writing 2007 (2007) — Contributor — 159 copies
The Best of McSweeney's {complete} (1800) — Contributor — 143 copies
Granta 108: Chicago (2009) — Contributor — 142 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2021 (2021) — Contributor — 126 copies
The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction (2008) — Contributor — 125 copies
Burned Children of America (2001) — Contributor — 123 copies
Prize Stories 2001: The O. Henry Awards (2001) — Contributor — 123 copies
Science Fiction: The Best of 2003 (2004) — Contributor — 119 copies
Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature (2016) — Contributor — 110 copies
Prize Stories 1997: The O. Henry Awards (1997) — Contributor — 98 copies
American Fantastic Tales: Boxed Set (2009) — Contributor — 92 copies
Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2006 Edition (2006) — Contributor — 86 copies
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017 (2017) — Contributor — 82 copies
The Best American Magazine Writing 2004 (2004) — Contributor — 82 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2012 Edition (2013) — Contributor — 71 copies
The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story (2021) — Contributor — 53 copies
Extreme Fiction: Fabulists and Formalists (2003) — Contributor — 51 copies
The Best American Magazine Writing 2000 (2000) — Contributor — 26 copies
Escape: Stories of Getting Away (2002) — Contributor — 26 copies
The Best American Magazine Writing 2017 (2017) — Contributor — 24 copies
A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors (2015) — Contributor — 12 copies


2017 (99) 21st century (155) Abraham Lincoln (134) American (268) American literature (359) anthology (1,167) audiobook (111) Best American Series (126) Civil War (114) collection (177) death (121) ebook (176) essays (468) fantasy (301) fiction (3,218) ghosts (152) grief (106) historical fiction (310) horror (110) humor (359) Kindle (181) literary fiction (118) literature (296) McSweeney's (136) non-fiction (408) novel (109) own (130) read (300) satire (201) science fiction (243) short fiction (168) short stories (2,919) short story (121) signed (161) stories (208) to-read (2,515) travel (116) unread (223) USA (141) writing (110)

Common Knowledge

Amarillo, Texas, USA
Places of residence
Amarillo, Texas, USA
Golden, Colorado, USA
Syracuse, New York, USA
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Rochester, New York, USA
Colorado School of Mines (B.S.|Geophysical Engineering)
Syracuse University (M.A.|Creative Writing)
geophysical engineer
technical writer
Harvard Lampoon, Honorary Membership
Awards and honors
MacArthur Fellowship (2006)
Guggenheim Fellowship (2006)
Harvard Lampoon Good American Satirist Award (2002)
Lannen Foundation Fellowship (2002)
Syracuse University Fellow (1986-1988)
O. Henry Award, Third Prize (1999) (for "Sea Oak", The New Yorker, December 28, 1998 & January 4, 1999) (show all 11)
O. Henry Award, Third Prize (1998) (for "Winky", The New Yorker, July 28, 1997)
O. Henry Award, Second Prize (1997) (for "The Falls", The New Yorker, January 22, 1996)
Syracuse University Graduate Teaching Award (2000)
Lannan Literary Fellowship (2001)
American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award (Literature, 2009)
Short biography
George Saunders (born December 2, 1958) is an American writer of short stories, essays, novellas, children's books, and novels. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, McSweeney's, and GQ. He also contributed a weekly column, American Psyche, to the weekend magazine of The Guardian between 2006 and 2008.

A professor at Syracuse University, Saunders won the National Magazine Award for fiction in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2004, and second prize in the O. Henry Awards in 1997. His first story collection, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, was a finalist for the 1996 PEN/Hemingway Award. In 2006 Saunders received a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2006 he won the World Fantasy Award for his short story "CommComm".

His story collection In Persuasion Nation was a finalist for the Story Prize in 2007. In 2013, he won the PEN/Malamud Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Saunders's Tenth of December: Stories won the 2013 Story Prize for short-story collections and the inaugural (2014) Folio Prize. His novel Lincoln in the Bardo (Bloomsbury Publishing) won the 2017 Man Booker Prize.



Happy sea creatures cling to fence singing at goats in Name that Book (September 2014)


I was immediately seduced by this book. Willie Lincoln, 11 years old, son of President Abraham Lincoln is gripped by typhoid at a time when in the wider America, Civil War is raging. Willie dies, and enters a supernatural domain peopled by a motley collection unable to accept that their lives, and their chances to influence the lives of others, are over. Here is a band of souls given over to meddling and getting involved in events they cannot change. This supernatural world, filled with as varied a collection of souls as Washington itself is the seat of squabbles, sympathy and sniping. Everyone though feels sympathy for Willie, and for his grief-stricken father. The book is realised in a collection of sentences, half-sentences, occasional longer soliloquies from the deceased residents of this nether world. Quotations and exposition from contemporary historic documents pepper the narrative. It's hard to articulate how this book works, or why it does. But it gripped me. I found it an unforgettable and tantalisingly different book, and one which deserves to be read again. I don't often read books twice.… (more)
Margaret09 | 332 other reviews | Apr 15, 2024 |
Another set of great short stories from George Saunders, nine in total, and not a bad one in the bunch. My favorites:

Liberation Day, which aside from combining some of Saunder’s favorite themes, dystopian technology and man’s inhumanity to man, also offered a history lesson of Custer and his army being wiped out by the Sioux defending themselves at Little Big Horn.

A Think at Work, which enters so well into the heads of three people in an office place and wickedly skewers all of them, the one with a sense of entitlement most of all.

Mother’s Day, which also switches perspectives between two women, satirizing both the past parenting of a grumpy old woman, as well as the behavior of a new age, virtue-signaling neighbor.

Also notable:
Love Letter, an imagined letter of someone writing their grandson years after a fascist government has taken power in America, looking back sadly at its rise amidst complacency, obviously highly relevant to this difficult period we find ourselves in thanks to MAGA.

Ghoul, which features a dystopian amusement park with trapped people as part of the exhibits – this certainly felt like familiar ground for Saunders, and something I kind of wish he broke away from a bit more at this point, and yet, after reading it, I couldn’t stop thinking about the revelation, that there is no ascension out of the place, and how symbolic that was.

On Americans, from Love Letter:
“We were spoiled, I think I am trying to say. As were those on the other side: willing to tear it all down because they had been so thoroughly nourished by the vacuous plenty in which we all lived, a bountiful condition that allowed people to thrive and opine and swagger around like kings and queens while remaining ignorant of their own history.”

On the sublime moments in life, from Liberation Day:
“Here is what I wish to say, dearest one, trapped as I am on this desolate, godless hillside, surrounded by demons who wish to destroy me: because I have known such a moment with you (the firelight playing across the walls; the dog asleep against the door; the bed shifting beneath us, as if making approving commentary in its own unique language), I may die now, if I must die, knowing I have truly lived.”
… (more)
1 vote
gbill | 21 other reviews | Apr 11, 2024 |
(2.0 Stars)

This was... a satirical paranormal alternate history fantasy, I guess.

I just could not get into it at all... I read two other books by the author and really liked them. This one, just didn't hit the mark (for me).

I read the audiobook version, all the different people were a nice touch, it really helped identify the characters by more than just their words.
philibin | 332 other reviews | Mar 25, 2024 |
A moving story of loss and regret, set in a cemetery. I just wished for an author’s note with info about the memoirs from which he drew quotations.
debbiereads | 332 other reviews | Mar 17, 2024 |


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