Augusten Burroughs

Bestselling Memoirist & Novelist
Author of Running With Scissors

Readings &
Lecture Topics
  • On Confidence
  • This is How: The Real Truth Behind Everything Can Help you Achieve Anything
  • Simply Sober: A Life Rebuilt
  • Be the Author of Your Life
  • Burroughs & You: 20 Questions
  • Bent: How to be Gay
  • How To End Your Life Without Killing Yourself
  • Memoir as Grand Unifying Experience

Biography

“His writing style is remarkably introspective, blunt, relatable, heartbreaking and hilarious.” —VOX Magazine

“Unflinchingly, Augusten Burroughs gouges himself (literally and figuratively), bleeds, gets it on paper—often without a neat resolution or the genre’s obligatory epiphany—and then makes you laugh. Now that’s genius.” —The New York Times Book Review

“One of the most compelling and screamingly funny voices of the new century belongs to Augusten Burroughs. He is blessed with an offbeat perspective and a viciously uncensored wit.” —USA Today

Augusten Burroughs was born in 1965 in Pittsburgh, PA. He was raised in Western Massachusetts and has no formal education beyond grade school. At nineteen he moved on his own to San Francisco where he began a career in advertising. Over the next decade and ahalf, Augusten created award-winning campaigns for some of the world’s most famous brands including American Express, UPS, and Beck’s beer.

All the while, Augusten was a hardcore alcoholic, haunted by his past. Then at the age of thirty-four, Augusten sat down at his computer one ordinary morning and wrote one sentence that made him laugh. He continued writing almost around the clock for the next seven days until he had finished what would become the manuscript of his first published book, the novel Sellevision, released in 2000.

Augusten’s next book was a memoir about his unconventional childhood. Running with Scissors became a publishing phenomenon, remaining at the top of the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three consecutive years. It was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, and Gwyneth Paltrow. He followed that with Dry, a memoir about his experience as an alcoholic trying to get sober in Manhattan. The sometimes caustic, often hilarious, and brutally candid tone of the book resonated with readers—especially other alcoholics and drug addicts—and the people close to them. His third memoir, Lust & Wonder (2016), examines what it means to be in love, what it means to be in lust, and what it means to be figuring it all out.

Augusten’s book This Is How, is a self-help book unlike any other. Written with effortless black humor and piercing insight, he dispenses with familiar, therapist-approved solutions to the obstacles and challenges so many people face and, instead, demonstrates to the reader how only rigorous, sometimes uncomfortable, honesty can truly set a person free. He has two collections of autobiographical essays, Magical Thinking and Possible Side Effects. These too were instant New York Times bestsellers in hardcover and paperback. A Wolf at the Table was published in 2008 and is a harrowing, dark, and terrifying memoir about the author’s childhood relationship with his father. You Better Not Cry is a collection of funny, touching, and unexpectedly joyful holiday stories.

Over the years, Augusten has been the subject of many features in magazines and newspapers, both in America and abroad including a Vanity Fair cover story. He has been named twice to Entertainment Weekly’s annual list of the funniest people in America, contributed numerous commentaries for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, and for several years authored a monthly column for Details magazine. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The London Times, The Guardian UK, The Sydney Morning Herald, Out, Bark, Attitude, Allure, House & Garden, and many others.

Exciting and entertaining on stage, Augusten is an immensely effective speaker because he connects with audiences of all ages and from all walks of life. There is a universal message—and elemental truth—in what he says that transcends economies, theologies, and philosophies. He delivers real, nutrient-dense substance, straight from the heart of experience and fresh off the cuff. Augusten likes to share what he’s learned with young people who are in the midst of creating their own lives. He likes to give them a small set of tools they can actually use in their own lives. He believes that it’s nice if he’s inspiring, but it’s better if he’s truly useful. Never scripted, Augusten on stage is Augusten at his best.

Augusten lives in New York City right beside the site of the new World Trade Center. He has been taking photographs for more than thirty years and this is what he continues to do in his free time.

Augusten Burroughs’s photography

Short Bio

Augusten Burroughs is the author of Running with Scissors, which remained at the top of the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three years. His 2016 memoir, Lust & Wonder, examines what it means to be in love, what it means to be in lust, and what it means to be figuring it all out.  His other major books include Dry, a memoir of alcoholism, This is How, a self help book, and A Wolf at the Table, a memoir of Burroughs’s childhood. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The London Times, The Guardian UK, The Sydney Morning Herald, Out, Bark, Attitude, Allure, House & Garden, and many others.

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