George Saunders, award-winning and New York Times best-selling author of Tenth of December: Stories, in conversation with Dr David Hering. 5.30pm, School of the Arts Library, 19 Abercromby Square.
Folio Prize-winning, National Book Award-shortlisted short story writer George Saunders will discuss and read from his debut novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.
Lincoln in the Bardo
On 22 February 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery, alone, under cover of darkness. Over the course of that evening, Lincoln paces the graveyard unsettled by the death of his beloved boy, and by the grim shadow of a war that feels as though it is without end. Meanwhile Willie is trapped in a state of limbo between the dead and the living – drawn to his father with whom he can no longer communicate, existing in a ghostly world populated by the recently passed and the long dead; soldiers, slaves, the poor and the rich, the good and the evil – for in the end nobody can escape death. And the longer Willie lingers, the longer he is in danger of being bound to the ghostly world forever, the tendrils of vengeful spirits closing in around his body, binding him to the roof of his own crypt. A thrilling exploration of death, grief and the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, Lincoln in the Bardo is – in its form and voice – completely unlike anything you have read before, and written as only George Saunders could do: with humour, pathos and grace.
George Saunders is the author of nine books, including Tenth of December which was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the inaugural Folio Prize (for the best work of fiction in English) and the Story Prize (best short-story collection). He has received MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships and the PEN/Malamud Prize for excellence in the short story, and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, he was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine. He teaches in the creative writing programme at Syracuse University.