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Posts Tagged ‘George Saunders’

Fast Food Gets Literary: Jonathan Safran Foer Curates Writing For Chipotle Packaging

chipotlebagsYou might think that eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill is a little bit low brow. But they want to change that. The fast food chain is now featuring original essays written by influential writers on its restaurant packaging.

The author series is called “Cultivating Thought.” Jonathan Safran Foer curated the list of contributors. Participating writers will include:  Judd ApatowSheri FinkMalcolm GladwellBill HaderMichael LewisToni MorrisonSteve PinkerGeorge Saunders and Sarah Silverman. The pieces are all meant to be read in two minutes. The idea is to entertain people while they are scarfing down a burrito.

Here is an excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell’s Two-Minute Barn-Raising:

I grew up in Canada, in an area of Ontario where there is a large community of Old-Order Mennonites. “Old Orders,” as they are known, are a religious group who live as if the 20th century never happened. They avoid electricity, drive horses and buggies, leave school at 16, and bail hay by hand. They dress in plain black and white, with straw hats over clean-shaven faces, and when a neighbor’s barn burns down, they gather as a community to put it back up. When I was little, not long after we moved to Ontario, my father heard about a barn-raising down the road. He decided to join in.

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Memoir Writing

Memoir WritingStarting January 7, work with a published memoir writer to tell and sell the story of your life! In this course, Wendy Dale will teach you how to create your story around a marketable premise, hone your narrative voice, write a memoir with a solid structure, and sell your memoir before you've even finished writing it. Register now!

George Saunders, Danielle Paige, & Christopher Moore Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

saundersWe’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending April 27, 2014–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #5 in Hardcover Fiction) The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore: “Venice, a long time ago. Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy from the Queen of Britain: the rascal-Fool Pocket. This trio of cunning plotters—the merchant, Antonio; the senator, Montressor Brabantio; and the naval officer, Iago—have lured Pocket to a dark dungeon, promising an evening of sprits and debauchery with a rare Amontillado sherry and Brabantio’s beautiful daughter, Portia.” (April 2014)

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George Saunders on The Importance of Kindness: VIDEO

Bestselling author George Saunders has a new book out entitled, Congratulations, By The Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness.

The book is based on Saunders’ 2013 speech at Syracuse University’s graduation ceremony. In his talk, which went viral last year, Saunders talked about the importance of being kind in life. “What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness,” he said.

To promote the book, Random House teamed up with production company Above Average to create a video using audio clips from the speech. We’ve embedded the video above for you to explore.

George Saunders Has Won the Story Prize

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 12.29.50 PMAuthor George Saunders has won the Story Prize, and its $20,000 purse, for his short story collection Tenth of December.

Saunders received the award at a ceremony at The New School in New York this week. Stephen Ennis, Director of the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin; author Antonya Nelson, and Rob Spillman, Editor of literary magazine Tin House judged the competition.

This was the second time what Saunders was nominated for the award. His last collection, In Persuasion Nation was a finalist for the prize in 2007. Here is more from the press release:

Ten must surely be Mr. Saunders’ lucky number: He is the tenth winner of The Story Prize for a collection of ten stories called Tenth of December, that in 2013 spent ten consecutive weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list for hardcover books. The book reached as high as no. 2 on that list, and the paperback edition has been on the trade fiction list for six weeks now.

Amazon Editors Choose Their Best Books of 2013

bestbooksAmazon has revealed the bestselling books of 2012, a list led by Donna Tartt, Khaled Hosseini and David Finkel.

We’ve reprinted the top 10 books on the list below. Follow this link to see all 100. You can also check out the company’s top 100 lists for Literature & Fiction, Nonfiction, Digital Singles and Children’s Books for the year. Amazon also created a free Kindle eBook of the top books list if you’d like to read it on your device. Read more

The Believer & KCRW Create Organist Podcast

The Believer magazine and Los Angeles radio station KCRW have teamed up to produce The Organist, “a monthly experimental arts-and-culture program.”

You can listen to the first episode on SoundCloud or subscribe on iTunes.

The podcast includes Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman, Scholastic editorial producer Amber Scorah, critic Greil Marcus and short story author George Saunders.
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Saunders on Letterman

It’s not often that a writer appears on Letterman these days (ever?) but George Saunders did last week for his new essay collection THE BRAINDEAD MEGAPHONE. Originally available as a Quicktime download, now the embed code is available for one and all to share.

(embed code swiped from Mark Sarvas. Original story swiped from Ed Champion.)

Mary Gordon Wins Story Prize 2006

Where there are literary awards, there is the Tishman Auditorium at the New School. And while the place wasn’t filled to full capacity, an enthusiastic crowd showed up for yesterday’s awards night, giving equal weight to bestowing its goblet prize and $20,000 cheque to winner Mary Gordon (for THE STORIES OF MARY GORDON) as to celebrating the short story. “It’s such an honor to accept an award for the short story, which is becoming somewhat of an endangered species,” Gordon said to open her acceptance speech, mentioning how many fine writers known for their story skills – like John Cheever, Katherine Ann Porter and Flannery O’Connor – all turned to novels because they were deemed to be the “real thing.”

But the readings by each of the three finalists and subsequent Q&As with Story Prize co-founder Larry Dark demonstrated the story’s ability to be real to the point of naturalistic (in the case of Rick Bass, reading “Her First Elk” from his collection THE LIVES OF ROCKS) or comically absurd (demonstrated with continued hilarity by Gordon’s “My Podiatrist Tells Me A Story About a Boy and a Dog” and George Saunders‘ speculative tale of a verbally idiosyncratic teen named “Jon”.) The biggest laugh came when Saunders admitted, upon Dark’s probing, that he does indeed laugh at his own writing, “but I never like to admit it because it’s absurd. Here’s this balding, middle-aged man reading something he likes and ‘oh isn’t this funny!’. It’s ridiculous.” What wasn’t ridiculous was how close the vote was; we understand judges Edwidge Danticat, Mitchell Kaplan and Ron Hogan had their work cut out for them, trying to decide between three excellent yet radically different collections—at least they only had three to deal with, after they’d been culled from a shortlist of 65 story collections that, in Dark’s words, were extremely difficult to pare down. “I actually had to stop reading short stories about two months before Larry gave us the finalists,” Ron said about his approach to the judging process, “because there was so many great collections coming out that I couldn’t think of any other way I’d be able to look at the actual nominees with a fresh set of eyes, not comparing them to everybody else. Since I’ve already read these three books, the first thing I’m going to do this weekend is finally crack open All Aunt Hagar’s Children by Edward P. Jones, and then I’ve got at least six others lined up after that…”

The Story Prize Names its Finalists

Fiction collections by authors Mary Gordon, Rick Bass and George Saunders have been named finalists for the third annual Story Prize, given to the year’s outstanding book of short fiction. Bass was nominated for THE LIVES OF ROCKS (Houghton Mifflin), Gordon for THE STORIES OF MARY GORDON (Pantheon) and Saunders for IN PERSUASION NATION (Riverhead.) The winner, to be announced at an awards ceremony at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium on February 28, receives $20,000. Finalists will each be given $5,000.

GalleyCat‘s own Ron Hogan was one of the three judges (along with author Edwidge Danticat and Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan) and has dipped into each of these collections, along with many other potential candidates, as they’ve been published over the last several months. “I’m looking forward to devoting a lot more time to these three authors in the following weeks,” Hogan said, “and I’m glad I’ve got two other well-informed judges to help make what will undoubtedly be a tough decision.”