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The Unexpected Catalog of George Saunders


George Saunders just won the Man Booker Prize for his 2017 novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, which was (amazingly) his very first novel-length work of fiction. It’s a meditation on life and death, told primarily through ghosts in the cemetery where Abraham Lincoln went to mourn the death of his young son.


Saunders is best known as a short-story writer, with a well-deserved reputation for creating fantastical, eerie, often unsettling stories that create new and wholly believable worlds.

Highlights of Saunders talking writing with Dick Cavett at LIVE from the NYPL in 2013.

When we looked up Saunders’ complement of work in the NYPL catalog, we were surprised to discover  that it includes not only multiple collections of short stories, but also two novellas — CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil — and a book of personal essays.

And a published commencement speech.

And a children’s book!

Check out the titles below for George Saunders like you may not have known him before.

Short Stories


Tenth of December (2013); In Persuasion Nation (2007); Pastoralia (2000)



The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil (novella; 2005); CivilWarLand in Bad Decline: Stories and a Novella (1997)

Commencement Speech, Essays, & Children’s Fiction


Congratulations, by the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness (2014); The Braindead Megaphone (2007); The Very Persistent Grappers of Frip (2006)


Saunders image via Flickr user Jeremy Sternberg.

Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!


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Such great writing!

And to top it off, he used to work as a geophysicist in Indonesia. Add that to the list of unexpected jobs of famous writers!

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