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We had the privilege of speaking with short-form master and Lincoln in the Bardo author George Saunders. In this video, the globally acclaimed author discusses his approach to outlining—or lack thereof. Read our extended interview with Saunders to discover his insights on inventive structure and what he learned writing Lincoln in the Bardo.
About George Saunders
A former MacArthur Genius Fellow, Saunders has written nearly two dozen pieces—both fiction and nonfiction—for The New Yorker, demonstrating his talent across category. His 2013 New York Times bestselling short story collection, “Tenth of December,” was a National Book Award Finalist and was named one of the best books of the year by such venues as NPR, Entertainment Weekly and New York magazine.
Unwilling to be defined by his concision alone, Saunders’ first foray into full-length fiction—2017’s Man Booker Prize–winning Lincoln in the Bardo—is an existential exercise in human suffering, sentimentality and historical re-examination, with a dash of his trademark humor.
Yet despite all the accolades, the 59-year-old is remarkably humble. It’s a modesty hewn from early years of struggle in developing his own voice, with his acclaimed first collection, 1996’s “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline,” written in his off-hours while he worked full time as a technical writer in Rochester, N.Y. That humility translates into an abundant generosity of spirit. Saunders teaches at Syracuse University’s Master of Fine Arts program—the same program through which the distinguished writers Tobias Wolff and Douglas Unger mentored him in the late 1980s. Read more about him here.