David Sedaris

Best-selling author and humorist David Sedaris will be at Oregon State University's LaSells Stewart Center Saturday night for a reading and book signing. 

Photo by Ingrid Christie

The capacity crowd that greets David Sedaris as he steps onto the stage Saturday night at Oregon State University's LaSells Stewart Center should expect more than just a reading.

"He's so good at reading the work and doing the voices, I would really encourage people to think of it as a performance," said Steven Barclay, Sedaris' manager of 21 years. (Sedaris himself was not available for an interview with The E.)

Sedaris, the author and best-selling humorist whose popular books include "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk," "When You Are Engulfed in Flames," and "Me Talk Pretty One Day," will also show the audience a glimpse of what he's currently writing.

"He will literally read from and talk about new work that's not published, so people get an advance performance, if you will, of what's to come," Barclay said.

During the 90-minute program, the author will likely share pieces from his book, "Theft By Finding," which is due in May. It's his first book to feature excerpts from his diaries.

The title comes from a term in England, where if you pick up a 10-pound note from the ground and don't turn it in, that is called theft by finding, he said.

Sedaris, who typically tours 40 cities in 40 days, edits new, unpublished work on the road and uses the live readings as editing sessions, Barclay said.

"If people laugh extra loud he will put plus marks on the margin. If they don't laugh as much, he'll question whether he wants to keep it in or not," Barclay said.

"By the time his publisher gets the work, well after he's read it several times in public, it's really been vetted by his fans along the course of his tours," he added.

Sedaris has been known to talk with people and sign books for up to three or four hours after his events, Barclay said.

"If you hover near the signing table it's like a whole second show. It's very funny," he said.

When asked how the successful writer has turned into such a well-received public performer, Barclay said that Sedaris has impeccable comic delivery from time spent editing and crafting "very perfect sentences."

"When you hear it as a live event or a radio event these are very carefully crafted observations of his family, about our shared humanity, about things we find both uncomfortable or funny in the world," Barclay said.


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