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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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George Saunders: on story

7 minutes

A story is like a black box – you put the reader in there: George Saunders on storytelling

The US writer George Saunders is celebrated both for his masterful prose and empathic storytelling. A MacArthur Fellow and National Book Award finalist, Saunders’s first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, was released in 2017 to wide acclaim. In this short video, the author deconstructs what makes for an effective story, and describes his personal strategies for writing, revealing the importance of conversing with your characters, the pitfalls of fixing your intentions in place, and why good storytelling is a bit like being in love.

Directors: Tom Mason, Sarah Klein

Executive Producer: Ken Burns

Website: Redglass Pictures

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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Support Aeon

Essay/
Art
Is it really a Leonardo?

Forensics can’t be sure. Provenance can be fudged. This is why the expert eye still rules the game of art authentication

Noah Charney

Essay/
Cultures & Languages
Black Achilles

The Greeks didn’t have modern ideas of race. Did they see themselves as white, black – or as something else altogether?

Tim Whitmarsh