George Saunders to speak on campus April 10

Author George SaundersGeorge Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo and recipient of the 2017 Man Booker Prize, will give a reading on Wake Forest University’s campus on April 10, 2019. His visit is made possible by a generous gift from the family of alumna Betty Jo Beeson Fitzpatrick ’50 to the English Department’s Creative Writing Program. The reading, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Porter Byrum Welcome Center on Wake Forest’s campus at 6:30 p.m.

Saunders is one of the most critically acclaimed writers of our time. His first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, which explores Lincoln’s grief over the death of his son Willie, was hailed by The New York Times as “a luminous feat of generosity and humanism.” The novel won the 2017 Man Booker Prize, and Time magazine listed it as one of the top ten novels of the year.

Before Lincoln in the Bardo, Saunders was known as a brilliant writer of highly inventive short stories, novellas, and magazine articles. In addition to his novel, he has published four collections of short stories, a novella, and a book of essays. The recipient of a 2006 MacArthur Foundation Genius grant, his work appears regularly in The New Yorker, GQ, and Harper’s Magazine, and has appeared in the O’Henry, Best American Short Story, Best Non-Required Reading, and Best American Travel Writing anthologies. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine in 2013. He teaches creative writing at Syracuse University.

The gift that made Saunders’s visit possible was given in honor of alumna Betty Jo Beeson Fitzpatrick’s lifelong love of literature and learning. After graduating from Wake Forest College with an English major in 1950, she enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Schools as a teacher of English, French, and Latin. She later served as a guidance counselor at East Forsyth High School, Parkland High School, and Glenn High School. Betty Jo Beeson Fitzpatrick always advocated for education, especially literature, as the pathway to tolerance, compassion, kindness, and equality — values she felt were central to the joy of living.

Parking and ticket information:

This event is not ticketed and guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis, so please plan to arrive early. Students will be admitted starting at 6 p.m. and doors will open to the general public at 6:15 p.m. 

The Porter Byrum Welcome Center (#53 on the campus map) is located on the right as you enter campus from Reynolda Road. Visitors may park at the Welcome Center (Lots S1/S2), Lot S at the bottom of the hill, or any of the visitor parking lots on campus. You can view campus maps, including parking maps, here: about.wfu.edu/visiting/maps/.


Recent books from George Saunders: 

Cover of Fox 8   Cover of Lincoln in the Bardo    Cover of Tenth of December  

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