English Professor Brett Wiley sat down with author George Saunders in October 2015. Wiley published the piece in Image, an academic journal that focuses on the arts and religion.
“I took a chance and emailed Saunders out of the blue back in June of 2015,” Wiley said. “I was going to be in Syracuse, NY for a conference (Saunders teaches at Syracuse University) and emailed him to ask if he'd have time to meet for an interview.”
Although Wiley wasn’t sure what to expect, Saunders responded about a week later and agreed to the interview. Saunders and Wiley corresponded over the summer and planned a time to meet in Syracuse.
Saunders is an American author who has published over 20 short stories including “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline,” “Pastoralia,” and “In Persuasion Nation.” He has appeared in multiple magazines and The New Yorker. In 1999, Saunders was named one of the best American authors under the age of 40 and has been awarded multiple fellowships.
“Saunders is a great writer, winner of awards and praise from many critics and readers, and yet he is a humble and kind person,” Wiley stated. “On the evening we spoke, he was leaving Syracuse to head straight to New York for The New Yorker festival; however, he sat and talked for over two hours.”
Image is a publication Wiley has subscribed to for more than 10 years and is published out of Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, WA.
“Once I had done the interview I wrote their managing editor and asked if they'd be interested in publishing it,” Wiley said. “We finalized the details in November 2015, and I worked to edit and revise the interview into 2016.”
Wiley’s interview was published in Issue 88 of the journal.
Wiley will be taking a sabbatical next semester and hopes to add a few more publications to his resume.
“I'll be working on three or four articles about Saunders, aiming for publication of a couple,” he said. “I've presented two papers at conferences on Saunders' short stories within the past two years, so I'll be revising and expanding those and then working a couple more.”
Wiley will also have access to Saunders’ first novel which will be available in Feb. 2017 and hopes to write a review for the publications as well.
To read the full interview, “A Conversation with George Saunders,” click here.