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Writer Sedaris to speak at Fall Commencement

NPR humorist, playwright and best-selling author David Sedaris will receive an honorary doctorate and speak at Fall Commencement on Sunday, Dec. 14.

The Fall Commencement, a single ceremony for doctoral, master’s and baccalaureate students, will be held at noon in the Events Center.

Sedaris is often heard on NPR and has earned recognition as one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. Born in Binghamton and raised in North Carolina, Sedaris was named “Humorist of the Year” in 2001 by Time magazine, and that same year was nominated for two Grammy Awards — Best Spoken Word Album for Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and Best Comedy Album for David Sedaris: Live at Carnegie Hall. 

Sedaris, who has kept a personal diary for decades, launched his career as a writer and commentator on NPR in the early 1990s with his reading of “SantaLand Diaries,” his tale of his experiences as a Christmas elf at Macy’s department store. He continues to bring his experiences to life with sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, slicing through cultural euphemisms and political correctness. A master of satire, he is one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today.

His books and collections of personal essays — Barrel Fever, Holidays on Ice, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and his most recent, When You Are Engulfed in Flames — have all been best-sellers. There are currently 7 million copies of his books in print, translated into 25 languages.

His work was recognized in 2001 with the Thurber Prize, conferred upon the author and publisher of the outstanding book of humor writing published in the United States. It is the nation’s highest recognition of the art of humor writing.

Sedaris is the editor of an anthology of stories, Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules: An Anthology of Outstanding Stories. His essays also appear regularly in Esquire and The New Yorker.

Sedaris and his sister Amy Sedaris have collaborated under the name “The Talent Family” and have written several plays including Stump the Host, Stitches, One Woman Shoe, which received an Obie Award, Incident at Cobbler’s Knob and The Book of Liz, which was published in book form by Dramatist’s Play Service. These plays have been produced at La Mama, Lincoln Center and The Drama Department in New York City.

Sedaris’ original radio pieces can often be heard on This American Life, distributed nationally by Public Radio International and produced by WBEZ.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08