Augusten Burroughs, New York Times bestselling author of Running with Scissors, speaks about his life and work. Tuesday, February 17, 2009

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Vassar College will present “An Evening with Augusten Burroughs,” on Tuesday, February 17. Burroughs, a humorist, acclaimed novelist, and author of the New York Times bestseller Running with Scissors, will speak about his work and life in a program beginning at 8:00 pm on the second floor of the Students’ Building.  A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow this lecture, which is free and open to the public. Burroughs is this year’s pick for the Alex Krieger ‘95 Memorial Lecture, which has previously featured humorists such as John Irving, Tom Wolfe, Sarah Vowell, and David Sedaris.

Running with Scissors tells the story of Burroughs’ upbringing under the care of an unbalanced psychiatrist in a Massachusetts mansion. After his mother gives legal guardianship of her 13-year-old son to her psychiatrist, the young author is forced onto a horrific roller coaster ride of bizarre experiences that sees him sexually abused by the doctor’s pedophile patient.

Burroughs wrote his story of survival under extraordinary circumstances with a humorous tone that prompted the New York Times to describe Running with Scissors as “a bawdy, outrageous, often hilarious account of what in fact sounds like a seriously unhappy story.” The book topped the New York Times bestseller list for eight months and was one of Entertainment Weekly’s Top Ten Books of the Year. In 2006, it was developed into a film that starred Alec Baldwin, Annette Benning, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award the next year.

Burroughs left the horrors of Running with Scissors at 17 when he moved into his own apartment, after which he earned a GED and got a copy writing job. When he was 34, Burroughs started writing Sellevision, his first novel that was published in 2000. Running with Scissors, the author’s second work, was published in 2002. Burroughs now works as a full-time writer; recent publications include Dry, Possible Side Effects, Magical Thinking, and, most recently, A Wolf at the Table.


This annual lecture series is given each spring in memory of a Vassar student, Alex Krieger, who was killed in an automobile accident during the spring of his freshman year. One of Krieger’s keenest interests was distinguished American writing that incorporates humor as a primary element. In consultation with his family, Vassar has invited outstanding American writers and humorists as such Krieger. Lecturers over the last several years, including Tom Wolfe, Wendy Wasserstein, John Irving, P. J. O’Rourke, Calvin Trillin, Jules Fieffer and Oliver Sacks, Tony Kushner, David Sedaris, Michael Chabon, Sarah Vowell, and most recently Gail Collins.

People with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, January 13, 2009