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In this Articulate exclusive, the humorist and best-selling author explains how his best work comes not from anecdotes, but from moments of vulnerability and clarity in which he shocks himself.

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David Sedaris
David Sedaris

David Sedaris is a celebrated author and humorist known for his exaggerated autobiographical essays about his family, work, and everyday life in the United States, France, and England.

Sedaris was born near Binghamton, NY, in 1956 and raised in suburban Raleigh, NC. He attended Western Carolina University and Kent State University before graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987. In the early 1990s NPR host Ira Glass saw Sedaris in a comedy club in Chicago and invited him to perform on several radio shows. Sedaris’s reading of “Santaland Diaries,” humorous recollections of work as an elf in a Macy’s Christmas village, led to a monthly segment on NPR and a two-book publishing deal. His fourth collection of essays, Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000), won the Thurber Prize for American Humor. His next collection, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (2004), reached number 1 on The New York Times bestseller list; the audiobook was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Sedaris has contributed over 40 essays to The New Yorker and his thirteen published books have sold over seven million copies.