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George Saunders celebrates Mark Twain

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Today, satirist and short story writer George Saunders paid a visit to the central branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library to give a short reading on the topic of Mark Twain. The event was held in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Twain's death (or the 175th anniversary of his birth, if that's how you insist on looking at it) and to mark the opening of the library's "125 Years of Huck" exhibition. Read News Arts Editor Jeff Simon's preview of the event for a little more background.

The program got under way with an interesting if somewhat lengthy history of Twain's brief stint in Buffalo, during which he lived in some storied edifices and occasionally showed up for work at the Buffalo Express when the mood struck him. The audio of that talk, delivered by local historian Thomas Reigstad and introduced by library director Bridget Quinn-Carey, is after the jump.

Saunders, with characteristic humor and grace, then read from "The United States of Huck," his introduction to a recent edition of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." He also read key parts of Twain's masterpiece, which illustrate why, in Saunders' mind and many others, Twain's reputation as the forefather of all great American fiction is well earned. The audio is here:


Hear Thomas Reigstad reflect on Twain's time in Buffalo here:


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