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David Sedaris

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David Sedaris is a best-selling author, playwright, commentator, and National Public Radio humorist. Sedaris was born on December 26, 1957. His first collection of short stories, entitled Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays, was published by Bay Back Books in 1994. The collection became a national best-seller and was selected as one of the Village Voice Literary Supplement's Favorite Books of the Year. Barrell Fever, which targets the inane and soulful ridiculousness of modern life, was described by one critic as "so good and so naughty." David Sedaris made his debut on National Public Radio's show Morning Edition with an excerpt from the Santaland Diaries, which recounts his true experiences as an elf at Macy's and was first published here. Sedaris' second best-seller, Naked, followed in 1997. That same year, Holidays on Ice was published, compiling his holiday-themed essays that skewer the absurd conventions and contrivances of the holiday season. The audiobook version was nominated for an Audie (the highest audiobook honor). Publishers Weekly praised this program's "smashing use of the audio as a unique entertainment medium" and called the performances "highly likable and spirited throughout." The collection of Christmas stories includes the hilarious "Dinah the Christmas Whore" and other essays on the profundities of the middle-class holiday experience. The book is dedicated to Ira Glass who hosts the NPR show This American Life (distributed nationally by WBEZ in Chicago) in which David Sedaris is a regular contributor with nearly 30 short stories and reflections being aired, including "Santa Claus vs the Easter Bunny" and "Fatty Suit." Producer Ira Glass described Sedaris as "just a working Joe who happens to put out these perfectly constructed pieces of prose." The master satirist is skilled at dissecting euphemisms and turning political correctness inside out with great humor and irreverence. David Sedaris' essays have been described as tart and prickly. David Sedaris has also been published in print and online by Esquire Magazine, Slate, the New York Times, and the New Yorker. Sedaris has written six plays, five with his sister Amy Sedaris, including The Little Frieda Mysteries, Stump the Host, Stitches, One Woman Shoe (which received a prestigious Obie Award), Incident at Cobbler's Knob, and The Book of Liz. David Sedaris' book Me Talk Pretty One Day was published in paperback and audiobook in 2000. One of Sedaris' funniest moments here was his description of his surprising eventual enjoyment of his Walkman as something he had always ranked on the vulgarity scale "between boa constrictors and Planet Hollywood T-shirts." A film version of Me Talk Pretty One Day is currently being made by director Wayne Wang (Anywhere But Here, The Joy Luck Club, and the controversial Life Is Cheap...But Toilet Paper Is Expensive). The author appeared on Late Night with David Letterman in June of 2001. David Sedaris currently resides in Paris. David Sedaris has been compared to James Thurber, Dorothy Parker, Spalding Gray, Mark Twain, and Nathanial West and was hailed by the New Yorker as one of the funniest writers in America. ~ JT Griffith


December 26, 1957

Years Active:

'90s, '00s