David Sedaris, one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers, returns to the Valley by popular demand on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 8 p.m., to read some of his latest works and answer questions from the audience. A book signing will follow. His appearance at the Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Phoenix is part of the new Scottsdale Arts Presents series, in which artists and programs are presented at venues beyond the downtown Scottsdale campus.
Employing sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, Sedaris skillfully slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness; he is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today. He is the author of “Barrel Fever” and “Holidays on Ice,” as well as collections of personal essays, “Naked,” “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim,” “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” and “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls,” each of which became an immediate best-seller. Sedaris’ book collection of his diaries titled “Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977–2002),” came out this past May. His latest book is “David Sedaris Diaries: A Visual Compendium” (Little, Brown and Co.) and came out this week (Oct. 10).
Sedaris’ essays have appeared in The New Yorker, about which he says, “I felt uncomfortable calling myself a writer until I started with 'The New Yorker,' and then I was like, 'OK, now you can call yourself that.’ ’’ His original radio pieces have been heard on This American Life, distributed nationally by Public Radio International and produced by WBEZ in Chicago. Among his many honors are the Thurber Prize for American Humor, Time magazine’s “Humorist of the Year” and Grammy® Award nominations for “Best Spoken Word” and “Best Comedy” albums.
His hilarious reading on NPR about his experiences working as an elf named Crumpet during the holiday season at Macy’s in New York — first aired in 1992 — has become an annual tradition on the radio network, and it put him on the map. The essay is part of a collection of stories, the Santaland Diaries, about the darker side of the season.
Sedaris and his sister, Amy Sedaris, also have collaborated under the name “The Talent Family” and have written half a dozen plays that have been produced at La Mama, Lincoln Center and The Drama Department in New York City. Those plays include 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 Dramatists Play Service.
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