Burroughs was born Christopher Richter Robison in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the younger of two sons to poet Margaret Robison and John G. Robison, former head of the philosophy department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the younger brother of fellow memoirist John Elder Robison. He was raised in Massachusetts, including the towns of Shutesbury, Amherst, and Northampton. His parents divorced on July 29, 1978, when Burroughs was twelve years old, and he was adopted by his mother's psychiatrist who resided in the Northampton area.
Burroughs dropped out of school after the sixth grade and obtained a GED at age 17. He chose his name at age 18, and legally changed it in Boston. He later enrolled at Holyoke Community College in Holyoke, Massachusetts, as a pre-med student, dropping out before the end of the first semester. He decided to settle in New York City and worked for a Manhattan-based advertising company. In 1996, he sought treatment for alcoholism at a rehabilitation center in Minnesota before returning to Manhattan.
His books are published by St. Martin's Press and Picador. Some of his childhood experiences were chronicled in Running with Scissors (2002), which was later filmed.
Augusten Xon Burroughs (born October 23, 1965 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American writer known for his New York Times bestselling memoir Running with Scissors (2002). Burroughs divides time between New York City and Amherst, Massachusetts. On April 1, 2013 Augusten married his longtime agent and companion Christopher Schelling at New York City Hall, Staten Island. Running with Scissors was made into a film in 2006. It was directed by Ryan Murphy, produced by Brad Pitt.
In addition to Scissors, Burroughs penned a second memoir, Dry (2003), about his experience during and after treatment for alcoholism. It was followed by two collections of memoir essays, Magical Thinking (2003) and Possible Side Effects (2006). His first novel, Sellevision (2000), is currently in production as a feature film.
Burroughs' writing focuses on subjects such as advertising, psychiatrists, religious families, and home shopping networks. It has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, House & Garden, BlackBook, New York, The Times, Bark, Attitude, and Out. Burroughs writes a monthly column for Details. Early in his career, he was a regular commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.
Burroughs has been profiled in People, The Guardian, and Entertainment Weekly, where he ranked 15 on the 2005 list of "The 25 Funniest People in America" and was named to the magazine's "It List".
In a January 2005 interview, reflecting on his life with his (now former) partner, graphic designer Dennis Pilsits, Burroughs said paying tax should allow same-sex couples full legal entitlements: "That's what gay people need to be allowed to do – get married. Not have domestic partnerships; that's not acceptable. I don't believe for a moment gay marriage would destroy the sanctity of marriage. But let's just say for a moment that it does. Well, then the sanctity of marriage just has to be destroyed. It's just too bad. You can't have one set of benefits and only give them to some of the people."
In 2005, Universal Studios and Red Wagon Productions bought the rights to a film based on a then-unreleased memoir about Burroughs' relationship with his father. The book, called A Wolf at the Table, was released on April 29, 2008.
In October 2009, Burroughs released You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas, a book of short Christmas stories based on true events that occurred during his childhood.
Burroughs was presented with a special Trustee Award at the Lambda Literary Awards in 2013.
Running with Scissors was made into a film in 2006. It was directed by Ryan Murphy, produced by Brad Pitt, and starred Joseph Cross, Brian Cox, Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, and Evan Rachel Wood. Bening was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role.
Burroughs is currently writing the screenplay for two upcoming television series: he is working on a Showtime series based on his memoir, Dry, and writing a drama series for CBS titled The Nature of Fire, which follows a group of firefighters.
I did a lot of drinking in order to finish the manuscript of my most recent novel, “The Wolf at the Door”, in part, because the narrator heavily imbibes in order to survive his chaotic job at a guesthouse in New Orleans where he imagines he is seeing ghosts and angels and all sorts of oddities. Augusten Burrough’s memoir “Dry” is all about the author’s zeal to quench his addictive behavior with the bottle. It’s superbly crafted, full of angst and wit, particularly as the author seeks to remain sober and avoid a romance with an overly handsome crack addict. Another book readers might want to explore is Charles Jackson’s 1944 novel “The Lost Weekend”, about a man who cannot let go of his desire to drink. And note: all of the gay material in the novel was excised when it became the Oscar winning film. --Jameson Currier
Burroughs soul searing honesty regarding his alcoholism is what kept me turning page after page of this haunting memoir, Dry. There is no self pity here, no whining, just a blunt appraisal of the mess he was making of his life. Riveting. All his memoirs are exceptional reads, e.g. Running With Scissors, but Dry remains my favorite. --J.P. Bowie
Rather than the more famous “Running With Scissors,” which I have to admit I haven't read, Magical Thinking is a hilarious series of essays in which the very gay Burroughs lets all his neuroses hang out. --Kyell GoldFurther Readings:
Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (June 1, 2003)
Amazon: Running with Scissors: A Memoir
Amazon Kindle: Running with Scissors: A Memoir
The #1 New York Times Bestseller
An Entertainment Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year
Now a Major Motion Picture
Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor’s bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock- therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.
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