Charles Loring Elliott, Portrait of Matthew Vassar, 1861

In the News

George Saunders, a "short story virtuoso," delivers annual William Gifford lecture. Wednesday, October 29, 2008

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY— George Saunders, dubbed by the New York Times as a “short story virtuoso” and “fantastically talented” author, will deliver Vassar’s annual William Gifford lecture on Wednesday, October 29 at 6:00 pm, in the College Center’s Villard Room.

Saunders’ published works include three collections of stories, In Persuasion Nation, Pastoralia, CivilWarland in Bad Decline, and a novella The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil. He has also written several essays that have been published in the New YorkerHarpersSlate Magazine, and other publications.

Saunders’ writing has won accolades for its intelligent criticism of consumer culture and clever use of satire. The MacArthur Foundation selected Saunders as a fellow in September 2006; an honor given to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits.” The writer has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and has won the National Magazine Award for fiction four times.

The author was born and raised in Chicago. He has held several jobs, which included working as part of an oil exploration team, a doorman in Beverly Hills, a roofer in Chicago, a convenience store clerk and a guitarist in a Texas country-and-western band. In a 2006 interview with the Times, Saunders explained that these work experiences, which he described as, “the everyday struggle between capitalism and grace,” shape and provide material for his writing.

Saunders received his master’s degree in creative writing from Syracuse University under Doug Unger’s tutelage and went back to his alma mater in 1997, where he currently serves as an associate professor in creative writing.

This William Gifford Lecture is sponsored by the Department of English. People with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Directions to the Vassar Campus in the Town of Poughkeepsie are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, September 19, 2008


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