George Saunders was born December 2, 1958, in Amarillo, TX. He was born to George Robert Saunders, a federal employee, and Joan Saunders, also a federal employee; her maiden name was Clarke. He went to Colorado School of Mines, B.S. in 1981, and Syracuse University, M.A. in 1988. Saunders was a Catholic and is currently Buddhist. Saunders received National Magazine Awards in 1994 for "The 400-Pound CEO," in 1996 for "Bounty," and in 1999 for "The Barber's Unhappiness". He was awarded New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and was a PEN/Hemingway Award finalist, both in 1996, for CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. He was named one of the Twenty Best American Fiction Writers under Forty by New Yorker magazine in 1999. Pastoralia was chosen as New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2000. Saunders worked for Radian International, a environmental engineering firm, in Rochester, NY. He was a technical writer and geophysical engineer from 1989-1996. He then worked at Syracuse University, NY, as a visiting professor of creative writing from 1996-1997. George Saunders is an acclaimed American author noted for his wisdom and wit.