Calvin Trillin

Calvin Trillin has been acclaimed in fields of writing that are remarkably diverse. As someone who has published solidly reported pieces in The New Yorker for more than thirty years, he has been called "perhaps the finest reporter in America". His antic commentary on the American scene and his books chronicling his adventures as a "happy eater" have earned him renown as "a classic American humorist". His best-selling Remembering Denny, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG) in 1993, was hailed as "an elegiac, disturbing and altogether brilliant memoir".
 


Topics

Commentators, Humor, Journalist, Social Trends


Full Bio


Calvin Trillin has been acclaimed in fields of writing that are remarkably diverse. As someone who has published solidly reported pieces in The New Yorker for more than thirty years, he has been called "perhaps the finest reporter in America". His antic commentary on the American scene and his books chronicling his adventures as a "happy eater" have earned him renown as "a classic American humorist". His best-selling Remembering Denny, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG) in 1993, was hailed as "an elegiac, disturbing and altogether brilliant memoir".
 
Trillin was born and raised in Kansas City, MO. He graduated from Yale in 1957, did a hitch in the Army, and then joined Time magazine. After a year of covering the South from the Atlanta Bureau, he became a writer for Time in New York.
 
In 1963 he became a staff writer for The New Yorker. From 1967 to 1982, he produced a highly praised series of articles for The New Yorker called "U.S. Journal" - 3,000-word pieces every three weeks from somewhere in the United States, on subjects that ranged from the murder of a farmer's wife in Iowa to the author's effort to write the definitive history of a Louisiana restaurant called Didee's "or to eat an awful lot of baked duck and dirty rice trying". Some of the murder stories from that series were published in 1984 as Killings, a book that was described by William Geist in the New York Times Book Review as "that rarity, reportage as art".
 
From 1978 through 1985, Trillin was a columnist for The Nation, writing what USA Today called "simply the funniest regular column in journalism". From 1986 through 1995, King Features syndicated the column to newspapers. These columns were collected in five books: Uncivil Liberties (1982), With All Disrespect (1985), If You Can't Say Something Nice (1988), Enough's Enough (1990), and Too Soon To Tell (1995). In February, 1996, Trillin returned to the pages of Time as a columnist.
 
Trillin's work has included two comic novels, a collection of short stories, a travel book and an account of the desegregation of the University of Georgia. His three antic books on eating - American Fried, Alice, Let's Eat and Third Helpings - were compiled in 1994 into a single volume called The Tummy Trilogy. Messages From My Father was published in hardcover by FSG in June 1996 and became a New York Times national bestseller. A year later, The Noonday Press, a division of FSG published it in paperback.
 
He lectures widely and has appeared often as a guest on such television programs as "Good Morning America", "The Today Show" and "The Late Show with David Letterman". Piece by Piece, his recording of some of his own essays, won an Audie as the best humorist audiotape of 1996. He has written and presented two one-man shows at the American Place Theater in New York - both of them critically acclaimed and both sell-outs. In reviewing the second one, "Words, No Music", in the fall of 1990, New York Times theater critic Mel Gussow called Trillin "the Buster Keaton of performance humorists".
 
Trillin, who lives in New York City, has been a trustee of Yale and is currently a trustee of the New York Public Library. He and his wife, Alice, have two daughters.
 

Search Speakers


 

Contact Us