George Saunders was born in Amarillo, Texas, in 1958. He is the author of two short-story collections, Pastoralia, and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, both of which were New York Times Notable Books, and the novella-length illustrated fable, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil. He also wrote the New York Times best-selling children's book, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip (illustrated by Lane Smith), which has won major childrens literature prizes in Italy and the Netherlands. Saunders's third collection of stories, In Persuasion Nation, will be published by in April 2006. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.