George Saunders Launches Newsletter for Analyzing Stories That's Aimed at Helping Writers

Nicholas Barron

George Saunders now has a newsletter on Substack.

Saunders, the author of books including Lincoln in the Bardo, is launching an email newsletter called Story Club. The writer is also a creative writing professor at Syracuse University.

With Story Club, Saunders plans to dissect and analyze fictional stories. Experiences from publishing his last book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, where he broke down seven Russian short stories, inspired Saunders to start Story Club.

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Details about George Saunders’ newsletter

“The plan is to pick up where that book left off, widening beyond the Russians into stories from other times and traditions,” Saunders wrote.

Story Club emails will arrive in subscribers’ inboxes twice weekly. In addition, the author intends to deliver guided readings, writing prompts, and editing examples from his work.

“I want this experience to be truly interactive, and challenging, and rigorous,” Saunders wrote. “I also hope to use this platform to write, some, about culture and politics and, knowing me, there will now and then appear a humor piece, just because I can’t seem to help it.”

Saunders will also publish some question-and-answer pieces where readers can engage with the Man Booker Prize-winning writer.

Saunders’ goal with Story Club is to help people develop as writers.

“Sometimes, I think the best thing a writing teacher offers is a little bit of positive reassurance. Just to say, ‘It’s not impossible; you can improve,’” Saunders said. “The real baseline ethos of Story Club is that idea: that we can all participate, and it will make any life better.”

All Story Club emails are free to start, but Saunders intends to charge for some content about a month after the newsletter’s launch.

Famous writers with Substack newsletters

Saunders joins a growing list of notable writers publishing email newsletters with Substack.

Roxane Gay, Salman Rushdie, and Saeed Jones are famous poets and authors using the platform.

Substack launched in 2017 as an easy way for people to write and distribute email newsletters. The platform lets newsletter publishers charge for their content.

As of Aug., Substack had more than 500,000 paying subscribers.

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