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Virtual Event: "A Swim in a Pond in the Rain" George Saunders & Audrey Niffenegger, with the Chicagoland Independent Bookstore Association

Join us for a virtual conversation with George Saunders about his newest book—just released in paperback—A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life on Wednesday, May 4th at 7pm CT. Click here to register for this Virtual Event!

Awarded the 2017 Man Booker Prize for best work of fiction in English for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo, Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University for the past 20 years. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it’s more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.

In his introduction, Saunders writes, "We're going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn't fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art--namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?" He approaches the stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster. The process of writing, Saunders reminds us, is a technical craft, but also a way of training oneself to see the world with new openness and curiosity.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.

This event is co-sponsored by The Chicagoland Independent Bookstore Association (ChIBA) and the Great Lakes Independent Bookstore Association, in conjunction with national Independent Bookstore Day (April 30). Participating bookstores include: The Book Cellar, Bookends & Beginnings, Bookies, Bucket o' Blood, Madison Street Books, Seminary Co-op, Unabridged Books, Volumes, Women & Children First

About George Saunders: A writer with deep Chicago roots, George Saunders is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of ten books, including Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the Man Booker Prize; Congratulations, By the WayTenth of December, a finalist for the National Book Award; The Braindead Megaphone; and the critically acclaimed short story collections CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, Pastoralia, and In Persuasion Nation. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.



Audrey Niffenegger is the author of the international bestsellers The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, as well as a fine artist who has published the illustrated books The Three Incestuous Sisters, The Adventuress, The Night Bookmobile, and Bizarre Romance. She lives in Chicago and London.

Click here to register for this Virtual Event!

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984856036
Availability: Available, order here for delivery or pickup.
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - April 12th, 2022

Event date: 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

Unabridged Books, Inc.
Chicago, IL 60657
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