Augusten Burroughs was born in 1965. He has no formal education beyond elementary school. A very successful advertising copywriter for over seventeen years, Burroughs was also an alcoholic who nearly drank himself to death in 1999. But spurned by a compulsion he did not understand, Burroughs began to write a novel. Never outlining or consciously structuring the book, Burroughs wrote, "as fast as I could type, to keep up." Seven days later, Augusten Burroughs had written his first book. He had also stopped drinking. The book was published one year layer. Burroughs remains sober to this day. And Sellevision stands as Burroughs's only published novel. It is currently in development as a feature film.
Augusten's second book was a memoir. It was also a publishing phenomenon that helped to ignite a kind of memoir fever in America and abroad. Running with Scissors was released in 2001 to virtually unanimous critical acclaim. The memoir would ultimately remain on the New York Times bestseller list for over four consecutive years, eight months of which were spent in the #1 position. The film, starring Annette Benning, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jill Clayburgh and Alec Baldwin was released in 2005.
He has since published four additional autobiographical volumes (Dry, Possible Side Effects, Magical Thinking and A Wolf at the Table), all of them bestsellers. Currently published in over thirty countries, Augusten's book readings have become massively popular events on numerous continents. He has also headlined for the most prestigious literary festivals in the world, most recently the 2008 Melbourne writer's Festival, where he and Germaine Greer delivered the keynote addresses on opening night. In addition, Burroughs speaks regularly at colleges and universities on topics ranging from alcoholism and sexual abuse to the art of authoring one's own life and humor as serious medicine.
Twice honored by Entertainment Weekly as one of 25 funniest people in America, Burroughs shocked fans and the media alike with the release of A Wolf at the Table in early 2008. The brutal, terrifying and decidedly unfunny book instantly generated a storm of publicity and controversy. Critics were deeply divided, and the book received some of the worst -and best- reviews of the author's career. The book tour for A Wolf at the Table, spanned some six months and four countries, as Augusten performed for the largest crowds of his career. A Wolf at the Table is Augusten's bestselling hardcover to date.
While critics continue to challenge the veracity of Burroughs's books, questioning everything from his alcoholism and advertising career to his earliest childhood memories, the author remains nonplussed, even philosophical. "To be a journalist with a major American newspaper or magazine, you have to have an A-list college education. And to get into that A-list college, you had to do very well in the right high school. So the chances are, you were not being fucked up the ass at age twelve by a pedophile. The facts of my life are generally questioned by extremely privileged and well-educated people who, more likely than not, learned most of what they know about life's dangerous, shocking and sometimes unbelievable underbelly from books, television and the occasional Quentin Tarrantino film. The reason my books continue to sell, despite frequently being dismissed as "unbelievable," is because the people who read my books recognize the truth that is in them. They know the scent. They have smelled it. The very details the media view with such suspicion are the same details that prove to my reader, this guy was there. I remember that, too."
Burroughs may always be a controversial writer. But there is one aspect of his life that will never be questioned -his low-key lifestyle. The author almost never engages in the kinds of activities that make many aspiring writer's seek publication and fame in the first place. While his name may end up in the tabloids, his face does not. Burroughs "almost never" attends book parties, movie premiers and restaurant openings. These Manhattan literary mainstays hold little appeal for the author. "The day I am photographed walking out of whatever it restaurant happens to be it at the moment is the day you should drag me by my Gucci jacket out behind the barn and shoot me in the head." Burroughs explains his reluctance to embrace the celebrity-author lifestyle. "I love movies and I love restaurants and I also love parties. And I do all this stuff. But I don't do it when and where and because I know I'll be seen and especially photographed." Burroughs also rarely appears on American television, preferring to meet his readers face-to-face. "And that's what I hate about TV. They can see you but you can't see them. I get enough of that with the books themselves."
Augusten Burroughs and his partner Dennis live with their two French Bulldogs, Bentley and The Cow in Western Massachusetts and New York City. Burroughs is working on his next book.