Calvin Trillin

35th annual Key West Literary Seminar

Revealing Power: The Literature of Politics
January 12–15, 2017

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 fifty years, he has been called “perhaps the finest reporter in America.” His wry 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 About Alice—a 2007 New York Times best seller that was hailed as “a miniature masterpiece”—followed two other best-selling memoirs, Remembering Denny and Messages from my Father.

Trillin was born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., and now lives in New York. He graduated from Yale in 1957, did a hitch in the army, and then joined Time. After a year 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.”

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, the column was syndicated to newspapers. From 1996 to 2001, Trillin did a column for Time. His columns have been collected in five books. His Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor in 2011.

Trillin’s books have included three comic novels (most recently the national best-seller Tepper Isn’t Going Out) and a collection of short stories and a travel book and an account of the desegregation of the University of Georgia.

Selected Bibliography
No Fair! No Fair!: And Other Jolly Poems of Childhood (Forthcoming September 2016)
Jackson, 1964: And Other Dispatches from Fifty Years of Reporting on Race in America
Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of Funny Stuff (2012)
Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse (2012)
Alice, Let’s Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater
Obliviously On He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme (2004)
Tepper Isn’t Going Out: A Novel (2003)
Travels with Alice (1999)
Messages From My Father: A Memoir (1997)
The Tummy Trilogy (1994)

Online Resources

New York Times Book Review
Trillin on the Daily Show
New Yorker Profile


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