Well, I’m not going to lie. It was one of the top ten thrills of my life speaking with George Saunders. I was so excited, I thought I might spontaneously combust partway through the interview. But he could not have been more unpretentious, kind, and engaging. I learned so much from him, and hope you do too! Every story he writes reminds me that we are all multifaceted and precious, despite our flaws–what a gift to focus on our shared humanity, especially these days.
Thanks are in order:
I am so grateful to George Saunders. He agreed to this podcast as a benefit for Pages Bookshop in Detroit.
The Grosse Pointe Public Library in Michigan bought ten copies of Liberation Day for their patrons from Pages Bookshop, so this was a great community collaboration.
In addition, my gratitude to fellow writers Jenn Goddu, Linda Downing Miller, Ellen Birkett Morris, Suma Rosen, Julie Ann Stewart, Laura Hulthen Thomas, and Gloria Whelan for their incisive questions, and for participating in the class!
Please read “Mother’s Day” before listening to our discussion. It’s available in his new book, Liberation Day, or in The New Yorker, or for free as a New Yorker Fiction Audio Selection.
And feel free to enjoy the episode on
or wherever you get your podcasts.
Check out this wonderful article (one of many!) about this new collection: The sweet humanity
Next month I’ll be talking to Toni Ann Johnson author of Light Skin Gone to Waste about a story from her Flannery O’Connor Award-winning collection.
Thanks for tuning in, everyone.
PS: We had some technical difficulties. At one point you might hear some garbage trucks in the background, at another point we got cut off mid-sentence (talking about the hot hands) and had to continue that conversation near the end of the recording, but I managed to edit out most of it, and then I handed it over to podcast engineer, Andrew Mason, at Upwork who managed to clean up the rest. Thanks, Andrew!
PSS: If you would like a transcript of this conversation, please contact me.
Bio: George Saunders is the author of nine books, including the novel Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the Man Booker Prize, and the story collections Pastoralia and Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2006 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2013 he was awarded the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and was included in Time’s list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.
His book is available from Pages Bookshop in Detroit, Bookshop, or Amazon.