Today’s GLBT History Month Icon: Writer David Sedaris

Today’s GLBT History Icon is David Sedaris. Born December 26, 1956, Sedaris is an award-winning writer and humorist whose bestselling short stories depict the life of a young gay man in modern America and the experience of an American living abroad.

From Equality Forum:

Sedaris, who was one of six children, was born in Binghamton, New York and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina.

In 1983, he graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  He began writing and supported himself with odd jobs in Raleigh, Chicago and eventually New York.   His big break came from National Public Radio, where he read his short stories.

Called the “preeminent humorist of his generation” by Entertainment Weekly, Sedaris is the author of numerous collections: “Barrel Fever” (1994), “Naked” (1997), “Holidays on Ice” (1997), “Me Talk Pretty One Day” (2000), “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” (2004) and “When You are Engulfed in Flames” (2008), which was number one on the New York Times best-seller list.  He edited a 2005 collection of stories called “Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules,” the proceeds from which benefit a non-profit writing and tutorial center.

Sedaris is known for his distinctive style, combining elements of memoir, humor and the traditional short story.  He is clear that his stories are embellished.  “I’m a humorist,” he says.  “I’m not a reporter.”

Sedaris is a frequent contributor to the award-winning “This American Life” public radio show.  Along with his sister Amy, he is the author of numerous plays written under the name “The Talent Family.”  He has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and was named Time’s Humorist of the Year in 2001.  In 2008, he delivered the commencement speech at Binghamton University and was awarded an honorary doctorate. 

Sedaris lives in London, Paris and Normandy with his long-standing partner, Hugh Hamrick.

For those unfamiliar with David Sedaris and his brand of humor, here is a clip of him reading from his book “When You are Engulfed in Flames” on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2008: 

Bibliography

  • “The G2 interview.” The Guardian. 22 June 2009.
  • “News Releases.” Binghamton University. 27 May 2010.
  • DuShane, Tony. “The MoJo Interview: David Sedaris.” Mother Jones. 27 May 2010.
  • Schrobsdorff, Susanna. “David Sedaris on Writing, Reading and Gay Marriage.” Newsweek. 30 May 2008.
  • “Sedaris Story to Become Film.” The Advocate. 7 May 2010.
  • Turner, Janice. “David Sedaris: The Unquiet American.” Times Online. 6 February 2010.


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29 comments

Gavin Bledsoe
Gavin Bledsoe5 years ago

You have to buy the audiobook for David to appreciate it the most.

Allan Y.
.5 years ago

Great posting.

Catherine A.
Catherine A.5 years ago

I have enjoyed his books. What a pleasure to hear him read from one.

Mary Latela
Mary Latela5 years ago

I wish we could celebrate all people - not because they are accomplished, but because they ARE. Sedaris is a gem.... so are so many others.

Sharon R.

Amazing man. Thank you so much for the article, Steve W.

Tori W.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thanks.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman5 years ago

Thank-you for post

Paige G.
P.L. G.5 years ago

I was reading "Holidays On Ice" on the train once and it made me laugh out loud, startling the people sitting near me. A very funny man.

Laura S.
Laura S.5 years ago

I first heard David Sedaris several years, on NPR's "Morning Edition", reading an excerpt from "The Santaland Diaries". I don't remember when I've laughed that hard. I've heard that same reading several times since, and it always makes me laugh. I'm laughing now, just remembering it. It should be required listening at the holidays.

He deserves each and every one of any award he's been given. This is the first I'd heard he was gay. I'm always learning something on this site. And thanks for the YouTube link.

Robert O.
Robert O.5 years ago

Thanks.