Born in Amarillo, Texas, short story writer and essayist George Saunders grew up on the south side of Chicago and began his career as a geophysical engineer, working for a time in Sumatra with an oil exploration geophysics crew. Now a member of the creative writing faculty at Syracuse University, he has received both a MacArthur Foundation and Guggenheim Fellowship. His most recent book, The Braindead Megaphone (2007) – the “braindead megaphone,” is a metaphor for the numbing effect of today’s sensationalist media – is a trenchant collection of essays on literature, travel and politics that deals with the absurdity of consumerism and corporate culture. Often compared to Kurt Vonnegut, Saunders writes stories –many published in the New Yorker – that are a strange and sardonic trip through the American landscape.
Photo: Courtesy of George Saunders