In this section of the study guide, we will provide information about George Saunders, the speaker who delivered the commencement address at The College of Arts and Sciences’ graduation ceremony at Syracuse University.

George Saunders (b. 1958) is an American writer and professor. Saunders has published novels, short stories, children’s books, as wells as novellas and non-fiction essays and anthologies. He has also received several awards, including the National Magazine Award for Fiction (received four times) and the Man Booker Prize (received in 2017).

Before becoming a professor at Syracuse University in 1996, Saunders worked in Sumatra, Indonesia. His experience in Sumatra is also referred to in his speech and is portrayed with self-irony and humor:

Skinny-dipping in a river in Sumatra, a little buzzed, and looking up and seeing like 300 monkeys sitting on a pipeline, pooping down into the river, the river in which I was swimming, with my mouth open, naked? And getting deathly ill afterwards, and staying...

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