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Two Campus Events Feature Writer George Saunders

MacArthur “genius” will give reading and take part in public dialogue

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Celebrated short story writer George Saunders will take part in a public conversation as part of Northwestern University’s Contemporary Thought Speaker Series Monday, May 6, at Northwestern University. In an earlier event in a separate location, Saunders will read from his latest collection of short stories.

Free and open to the public, both programs take place on the Evanston campus.

A short story writer and MacArthur “genius” fellow, Saunders has won high praise for his writing from The New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly alike. He will read from “Tenth of December,” his latest collection of short stories, at 4 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, Evanston.

At 6 p.m. Saunders will speak in Room 107 of Harris Hall, 1881 Sheridan Road, about writing, literature and the theme of the Contemporary Thought series -- the purpose and value of a university education in the world. Nathan Hedman, visiting assistant professor of English, will moderate the discussion. A Q&A session will follow. 

Saunders is the author of “Pastoralia,” “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline” and “In Persuasion Nation.” His 2007 book of essays, “The Braindead Megaphone,” received critical acclaim and landed him spots on “The Charlie Rose Show,” “Late Night with David Letterman” and the “Colbert Report.”

Last month, Saunders joined the ranks of Saul Bellow, Eudora Welty and John Updike when he won the PEN/Malumud Award for short fiction from the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. He teaches creative writing at Syracuse University.

Writer Dave Eggers has called Saunders “a complete original” and “essential to our national sense of self and sanity.” A recent New York Times Magazine article profiling Saunders and the short stories in “Tenth of December” was titled “George Saunders has written the best book you’ll read this year.”

Northwestern’s Contemporary Thought Speakers Series brings nationally known intellectuals on campus. Spearheaded by a student-faculty committee, it is supported by the Office of the President and Office of the Provost. In the last few weeks, the series has brought Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp and Google “in-house philosopher” Damon Horowitz to Northwestern.

For more about the two May 6 events with writer Saunders or about the Contemporary Thought Speakers Series, email

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