George Saunders

From Damon Winter/The New York Times

Photo from Damon Winter/The New York Times

Who is George Saunders? Clearly you jest! He is a writer. A fantastic writer. And although he writes non-fiction and even children’s books, his fiction is what he is best known for — being perhaps one of the most influential fiction writers of our time. His recent book, The Tenth of December was lauded by the NYT Book Review as “The best book you’ll read this year,” and his name is said to be on the lips of every MFA student in the country (world?).

Saunders writing style is unique, and he uses something called “third-person ventriloquism” — using this technique he writes solely in the vernacular of each particular character. His advice for writers? Make every sentence compels the read on to the next; make sure your stories are entertaining and never trivial; spend a lot of time re-writing, saying that he creates hundreds or thousands of drafts of each story before he feels it ready.

On July 31, 2013 the New York Times posted George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates convocation speech delivered at Syracuse University for the class of 2013. The speech is touching and inspiring, and suggests that we each be a little kinder — his personal regret being, “failures of kindness.” You can read the speech here, or you can watch it here.

Read some of Saunders advice for writers at the bottom of this link…you’ll enjoy them.

About MWycombe

Webmaster for Napa Valley Writers
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