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Writer's Forum to host bestselling author Augusten Burroughs

Master of memoir Augusten Burroughs awarded at Brockport

By Alissa Reitter The Stylus
On April 25, 2012

  • Bestselling author Augusten Burroughs (above) will be hosted by the Writer’s Forum and awarded the Art of Fact award for his work in non fiction.

The College at Brockport will present its Art of Fact Award to well known author and memoirst Augusten Burroughs Wednesday, April 25. The Art of Fact Award is given to a deserving non-fiction writer every spring by the Writer's Forum.

Burroughs is a New York Times bestselling author who specializes in retelling details of his life in humourous memoirs. Before changing his name at age 18, Burroughs was known as Chris Robison. When he was a child, his parents separated. As a result, Mrs. Robison gave her son to her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch, to be raised. He grew up in a household full of adopted children, patients and no rules.

After changing his name he moved to New York City and began a career in advertising as a copy writer. After spending time in rehab for alcoholism, Burroughs found his calling. Since he became sober, he has had nine books published.

In 2005, he was ranked No. 15 on Entertainment Weekly's "The 25 Funniest People in America."  

Burroughs wrote his first novel, Sellevision, in seven days after a relapse that almost killed him. He has been sober ever since. This comedy about people who work for a home shopping network is his only completely fictitious novel to date.  

His second book, Running with Scissors, published in 2002, is about Burroughs' experiences growing up with the dysfunctional Finch family. It spent eight weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and was made into a film in 2006.

Not everyone agrees that Burroughs has been completely truthful about his past. In Running with Scissors, Burroughs doesn't paint a pretty picture of his life with the Finch family. The real family upon which the Finch's were based on was not happy with the way they were portrayed. A lawsuit was filed against Burroughs for invasion of privacy, which he eventually won. Although he did change the identity of the book from "memoir" to "novel" to settle the family down, Burroughs still stands by the position that he wrote the truth.

In Dry: A Memoir, his writing is humorous, clever and sometimes painfully real. Burroughs does not sidestep difficult topics or avoid telling it like it is to avoid hurting someone's feelings. It feels like you found his personal diary, it is so personal.

Dry: A Memoir is about Burroughs' struggle with alcoholism. He describes his usual routine of staying out drinking until very late hours of the night, and then arriving at his advertising job late, tired and sweating scotch. You follow him through his denial, rehab, relationships, newfound sobriety and eventual relapse. Burroughs does not try to make himself out to be the rehab hero in this story. He reveals all of his not-so-flattering secrets, from his apartment filled with hundreds of empty bottles to his love affair with a drug addict he met in AA.

Most recently, Burroughs has written a self-help book called This is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decreptitude & More, and For Young and Old Alike. Rather than recalling his past experiences, Burroughs claims that his latest book is "about you."

This is a great opportunity to meet one of the greatest memoirists of our time. He will give a reading, followed by a reception and book signing at Temple B'rith Kodesh in Rochester. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, and is completely free for anyone to attend.

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