Award-winning author and essayist George Saunders will be visiting Birmingham early next year, it was announced on Saturday. The writer will be at the Alabama Booksmith on February 21 to sign copies of his upcoming novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, which is slated to be published by Random House on February 14.
The novel will be Saunders’ first; he’s primarily known for his short stories, many of which blend elements of science fiction, magical realism and satire. He has published four collections of short fiction: CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, Pastoralia, In Persuasion Nation and Tenth of December. The last of those garnered Saunders perhaps the greatest attention of his career to date; The New York Times called it “the best book you’ll read this year.”
Saunders, 57, is also known for his work as a nonfiction writer, and is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker. His latest piece, titled “Who Are All These Trump Supporters?”, was published in this week’s issue of the magazine and sees Saunders striving to find examples of empathy and human connection while on the trail of the most polarizing presidential campaign in recent memory.
The much-anticipated Lincoln in the Bardo is set in 1862 and will focus on the death of Abraham Lincoln’s 11-year-old son Willie; newspapers at the time alleged that Lincoln visited his son’s crypt several times to hold his son’s body. “From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying,” a press release for the novel reads. “Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state, called (in the Tibetan tradition) the bardo, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.”
George Saunders will be at the Alabama Booksmith on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit the event on Facebook.