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Allan Gurganus

Novelist, Short Story Writer, and Essayist Whose Work, Which Includes "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" and "Local Souls"

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 Allan Gurganus Biography

Since 1989, Allan Gurganus’s novels, stories and essays have become a singularly unified and living body of work. Known for dark humor, erotic candor, pictorial clarity and folkloric sweep, his prose is widely translated. Gurganus’s stories, collected as “Piccoli eroi,” were just published to strong Italian reviews. France’s La Monde has called him “a Mark Twain for our age, hilariously clear-eyed, blessed with perfect pitch.”

Fiction by Gurganus has inspired the greatest compliment of all: memorization and re-reading. The number of new critical works, the theatrical and film treatments of his fiction, testify to its durable urgency. Adaptations have won four Emmys. Robert Wilson of The American Scholar has called Gurganus “the rightful heir to Faulkner and Welty.” In a culture where 'branding' seems all-important, Gurganus has resisted any franchised repetition. Equally adept at stories and novels or novellas, his tone and sense of form can differ widely. On the page Gurganus continues to startle and grow.

Of his previous work “The Practical Heart,” critic Michiko Kakutani wrote in the New York Times, “Masterly and deeply affecting ... a testament to Mr. Gurganus’s ability to inhabit his characters’ inner lives and map their emotional histories.” The Atlantic called the same work, “An entertaining, disturbing and inspiring book -- a dazzling maturation.” Of “Local Souls,” Wells Tower wrote: “It leaves the reader surfeited with gifts. This is a book to be read for the minutely tuned music of Gurganus’s language, its lithe and wicked wit, its luminosity of vision -- shining all the brighter for the heat of its compassion. No living writer knows more about how humans matter to each other. These are tales to make us whole.”

Gurganus’s first published story “Minor Heroism” appeared in the New Yorker when he was 26. In 1974, this tale offered the first gay character that magazine had ever presented. In 1989, after seven years’ composition, Gurganus presented the novel "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" (Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters). This first book spent eight months on the New York Times bestseller list; it became the subject of a New Yorker cartoon and remains a clue on “Jeopardy” (Names for $400). The novel has been translated into 12 languages and has sold over two million copies. The CBS adaptation of the work, starring Donald Sutherland and Diane Lane and won and a “Best Supporting Actress” Emmy for Cecily Tyson as the freed slave, Castalia.

Along with "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All," Gurganus’s works include "White People," (Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Pen-Faulkner Finalist) as well as the novel "Plays Well With Others." His last book was "The Practical Heart: Four Novellas" (Lambda Literary Award). Gurganus’s short fiction appears in the New Yorker, Harper’sand other magazines. A recent essay was seen in The New York Review of Books. His stories have been honored by the O’Henry Prize Stories, Best American Stories, and The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Gurganus was a recent John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. His novella "Blessed Assurance: A Moral Tale," from "White People," has become part of the Harvard Business School’s Ethics curriculum. The work is discussed at length in "Questions of Character" (Harvard Business School Press) by Joseph L. Badaracco.

Born in Rocky Mount, NC in 1947 to a teacher and businessman, Gurganus first trained as a painter, studying at the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His paintings and drawings are represented in private and public collections. Gurganus has illustrated three limited editions of his fiction. During a three-year stint on board the USS Yorktown during the Vietnam War, he turned to writing. Gurganus subsequently graduated from Sarah Lawrence College where he’d gone to work with Grace Paley. At the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his mentors were Stanley Elkin and John Cheever. Mr. Gurganus has taught writing and literature at Stanford, Duke, Sarah Lawrence, the Michener Center at the University of Texas-Austin, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His students have included the novelists Ann Patchett, Elizabeth McCracken, Chris Offut, James Hines, Ayana Mathis, Justin Torres, Kate Christensen and Donald Antrim, among many others. Gurganus is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Returned from Manhattan 20-odd years ago to live in his native North Carolina, Gurganus co-founded “Writers Against Jesse Helms.” He continues to be an eloquent critic of homophobia, racism and much American foreign policy. Gurganus’s political editorials appear in The New York Times.

Gurganus lives in a small town in North Carolina. He told a recent interviewer, “Novelists don’t start life till turning 40. By that measure, as an artist, I am a blushing 26-year-old. I’ve only just begun ...”

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  • HOW TO BOOK Allan Gurganus?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Allan Gurganus for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Allan Gurganus, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Allan Gurganus or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Allan Gurganus?

    Booking fees for Allan Gurganus, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Allan Gurganus, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Allan Gurganus?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Allan Gurganus for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Allan Gurganus for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Allan Gurganus or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Allan Gurganus or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

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Allan Gurganus

Novelist, Short Story Writer, and Essayist Whose Work, Which Includes "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" and "Local Souls"

Travels From:
Hillsborough, NC, USA
Speaking Fee:

Allan Gurganus Biography

Since 1989, Allan Gurganus’s novels, stories and essays have become a singularly unified and living body of work. Known for dark humor, erotic candor, pictorial clarity and folkloric sweep, his prose is widely translated. Gurganus’s stories, collected as “Piccoli eroi,” were just published to strong Italian reviews. France’s La Monde has called him “a Mark Twain for our age, hilariously clear-eyed, blessed with perfect pitch.”

Fiction by Gurganus has inspired the greatest compliment of all: memorization and re-reading. The number of new critical works, the theatrical and film treatments of his fiction, testify to its durable urgency. Adaptations have won four Emmys. Robert Wilson of The American Scholar has called Gurganus “the rightful heir to Faulkner and Welty.” In a culture where 'branding' seems all-important, Gurganus has resisted any franchised repetition. Equally adept at stories and novels or novellas, his tone and sense of form can differ widely. On the page Gurganus continues to startle and grow.

Of his previous work “The Practical Heart,” critic Michiko Kakutani wrote in the New York Times, “Masterly and deeply affecting ... a testament to Mr. Gurganus’s ability to inhabit his characters’ inner lives and map their emotional histories.” The Atlantic called the same work, “An entertaining, disturbing and inspiring book -- a dazzling maturation.” Of “Local Souls,” Wells Tower wrote: “It leaves the reader surfeited with gifts. This is a book to be read for the minutely tuned music of Gurganus’s language, its lithe and wicked wit, its luminosity of vision -- shining all the brighter for the heat of its compassion. No living writer knows more about how humans matter to each other. These are tales to make us whole.”

Gurganus’s first published story “Minor Heroism” appeared in the New Yorker when he was 26. In 1974, this tale offered the first gay character that magazine had ever presented. In 1989, after seven years’ composition, Gurganus presented the novel "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" (Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters). This first book spent eight months on the New York Times bestseller list; it became the subject of a New Yorker cartoon and remains a clue on “Jeopardy” (Names for $400). The novel has been translated into 12 languages and has sold over two million copies. The CBS adaptation of the work, starring Donald Sutherland and Diane Lane and won and a “Best Supporting Actress” Emmy for Cecily Tyson as the freed slave, Castalia.

Along with "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All," Gurganus’s works include "White People," (Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Pen-Faulkner Finalist) as well as the novel "Plays Well With Others." His last book was "The Practical Heart: Four Novellas" (Lambda Literary Award). Gurganus’s short fiction appears in the New Yorker, Harper’sand other magazines. A recent essay was seen in The New York Review of Books. His stories have been honored by the O’Henry Prize Stories, Best American Stories, and The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Gurganus was a recent John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. His novella "Blessed Assurance: A Moral Tale," from "White People," has become part of the Harvard Business School’s Ethics curriculum. The work is discussed at length in "Questions of Character" (Harvard Business School Press) by Joseph L. Badaracco.

Born in Rocky Mount, NC in 1947 to a teacher and businessman, Gurganus first trained as a painter, studying at the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His paintings and drawings are represented in private and public collections. Gurganus has illustrated three limited editions of his fiction. During a three-year stint on board the USS Yorktown during the Vietnam War, he turned to writing. Gurganus subsequently graduated from Sarah Lawrence College where he’d gone to work with Grace Paley. At the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his mentors were Stanley Elkin and John Cheever. Mr. Gurganus has taught writing and literature at Stanford, Duke, Sarah Lawrence, the Michener Center at the University of Texas-Austin, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His students have included the novelists Ann Patchett, Elizabeth McCracken, Chris Offut, James Hines, Ayana Mathis, Justin Torres, Kate Christensen and Donald Antrim, among many others. Gurganus is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Returned from Manhattan 20-odd years ago to live in his native North Carolina, Gurganus co-founded “Writers Against Jesse Helms.” He continues to be an eloquent critic of homophobia, racism and much American foreign policy. Gurganus’s political editorials appear in The New York Times.

Gurganus lives in a small town in North Carolina. He told a recent interviewer, “Novelists don’t start life till turning 40. By that measure, as an artist, I am a blushing 26-year-old. I’ve only just begun ...”

Allan Gurganus Videos

  • Conversations: Alan Gurganus - YouTube

FAQs on booking Allan Gurganus

  • How to book Allan Gurganus?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Allan Gurganus for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Allan Gurganus, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Allan Gurganus or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Allan Gurganus?

    Booking fees for Allan Gurganus, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Allan Gurganus, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Allan Gurganus?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Allan Gurganus for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Allan Gurganus for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Allan Gurganus or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Allan Gurganus or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Allan Gurganus is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Allan Gurganus for your event is $10,000 - $20,000. Allan Gurganus generally travels from Hillsborough, NC, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are C.J. Box, Meg Wolitzer, John Green, Ken Jennings and Story Musgrave, M.D.. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Allan Gurganus for an upcoming event.

Allan Gurganus Speaker Videos

  • Conversations: Alan Gurganus - YouTube

Allan Gurganus News

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Speakers Similar to Allan Gurganus

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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