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Calvin  Trillin

Calvin Trillin

Columnist & Humorist

Calvin Trillin

Columnist & Humorist


Calvin Trillin 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. He is the author of Deciding the Next Decider: The 2008 Presidential Election in Rhyme and Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse.

Trillin has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker since 1963 and has written a piece of comic verse every week for The Nation since 1990. His books have included three comic novels—including the national bestseller Tepper Isn't Going Out—a collection of short stories, a travel book, and an account of the desegregation of the University of Georgia. Three of his books on eating—American Fried; Alice, Let's Eat; and Third Helpings—were compiled in 1994 into a single volume called The Tummy Trilogy. His About Alice—a 2007 New York Times bestseller that was hailed as "a miniature masterpiece"—followed two other best-selling memoirs, Remembering Denny and Messages from My Father. He also published the New York Times bestsellers Obliviously On He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme and its sequel, A Heckuva Job.

Calvin Trillin lectures widely and has appeared often as a guest on television. He has written and presented two one-man shows at the American Place Theater in New York, both of which sold out and were critically acclaimed.

A graduate of Yale, Trillin served in the army before joining Time magazine. After a year covering the South from the Atlanta bureau, he moved north and worked out of the New York bureau.

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 "US 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.” Some of the murder stories from that series were published in 1984 as Killings, a book that was described by William Geist in The New York Times Book Review as "that rarity, reportage as art."

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 wrote a column for Time. His columns have been collected in five books.

Trillin is a trustee of the New York Public Library, a former trustee of Yale, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Speech Topics

Regions of the Country

The Lingo of Languages

Various Writings