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Humorist David Sedaris to give talk, sign books at Talking Leaves

Humorist, best-selling author and National Public Radio "This American Life" essayist David Sedaris will visit Buffalo for a brief book talk and reading, followed by a question-and-answer session, beginning promptly at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 6th at Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main Street in Buffalo.

Following the talk, which is a ticketed event and limited to 125 persons (tickets are available with the purchase of any one of Sedaris's books from Talking Leaves at any time between now and June 6th at no additional charge), Sedaris will sign any books that he has authored in an event beginning at 7 p.m. at Talking Leaves that is free and open to the general public.

Sedaris is on an unusual nationwide tour in support of independent bookstores in conjunction with the paperback release of his most recent collection of  essays "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" by  Little, Brown and Company.  Last October, he appeared as a guest in the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts Speakers Series when the book was released in hardcover.

Sedaris is the author of nine collections of short stories and essays including his earlier books "Barrel Fever" (1994), "Me Talk Pretty One Day" (2000), "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" (2004) and "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" (2008). He has had over 40 of his stories and essays published in The New Yorker magazine since 1994, and over 50 of his radio essays have been featured on "This American Life" and other National Public Radio broadcasts since his "Santaland Diaries" was first aired on December 23, 1992.

In recent years, the question of whether Sedaris's work should be published and broadcast as nonfiction, fiction, or some comic-effect driven combination of the two has been raised by several critical commentators, most notably Alex Heard in a 2007 article ("This American Lie") in The New Republic that fact-checked several of the essays in Sedaris's 1997 collection "Naked."  While many critics concede that Sedaris does not purport to be a journalist, and that he freely admits to comic exaggeration, embellishment, and occasional outright invention in his essays (all of which his readers implicitly understand and accept as fictive techniques), they also point out that his work might not nearly sell as well, or be as popular as it is with public radio audiences were it marketed as fiction.

In 2012, prompted by a "This American Life" episode featuring writer Mike Daisey's monologue "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" that the program's producers and NPR were forced to retract, the network reclassified "Santaland Diaries" and several other  Sedaris pieces as fiction, and indicated that it would fact-check his future contributions to "This American Life."

For additional information on the Sedaris talk and book signing, contact Talking Leaves Books at either its Main Street (716-837-8554) or 951 Elmwood Avenue (716-884-9524) location.

--R.D. Pohl
  

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