Augusten Burroughs

Bestselling Memoirist & Novelist
Author of Running With Scissors 

 

"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-a-half, 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.

NY Times review of Running With Scissors

Augusten's most recent book is This Is How, 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.

Review of This Is How in the Huffington Post

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.

"The Memory of Addiction of Augusten Burroughs" New York magazine article

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. 

SHORT BIO
Augusten Burroughs is the author Running with Scissors, which remained at the top of the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three years. 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.

Augusten Burroughs Photography

About THIS IS HOW: PROVEN AID IN OVERCOMING SHYNESS, MOLESTATION, FATNESS, SPINSTERHOOD, GRIEF, DISEASE, LUSHERY, DECREPITUDE & MORE. FOR OLD AND YOUNG ALIKE (Nonfiction, 2012)

"The last self-help book you'll ever need" —Huffington Post


To say that Augusten Burroughs has lived an unusual life is an understatement. From having no formal education past third grade and being raised by his mother’s psychiatrist in the seventies to enjoying one of the most successful advertising careers of the eighties to experiencing a spectacular downfall and rehab stint in the nineties to having a number one bestselling writing career in the new millennium, Burroughs has faced humiliation, transformation, and everything in between. Told with Burroughs's unique voice, black humor, and in-your-face advice, This is How is Running With Scissors—with recipes.
 

About RUNNING WITH SCISSORS (Memoir, 2002)
There is a passage early in Augusten Burroughs's harrowing and highly entertaining memoir, Running with Scissors, that speaks volumes about the author. While going to the garbage dump with his father, young Augusten spots a chipped, glass-top coffee table that he longs to bring home. "I knew I could hide the chip by fanning a display of magazines on the surface, like in a doctor's office," he writes. "And it certainly wouldn't be dirty after I polished it with Windex for three hours." There were certainly numerous chips in the childhood Burroughs describes: an alcoholic father, an unstable mother who gives him up for adoption to her therapist, and an adolescence spent as part of the therapist's eccentric extended family, gobbling prescription meds and fooling around with both an old electroshock machine and a pedophile who lives in a shed out back. But just as he dreamed of doing with that old table, Burroughs employs a vigorous program of decoration and fervent polishing to a life that many would have simply thrown in a landfill. Despite her abandonment, he never gives up on his increasingly unbalanced mother. And rather than despair about his lot, he glamorizes it: planning a "beauty empire" and performing an a capella version of "You Light Up My Life" at a local mental ward. Burroughs's perspective achieves a crucial balance for a memoir: emotional but not self-involved, observant but not clinical, funny but not deliberately comic. And it's ultimately a feel-good story: as he steers through a challenging childhood, there's always a sense that Burroughs's survivor mentality will guide him through and that the coffee table will be salvaged after.

 

Augusten Burroughs website