Julie Schumacher—Dear Committee Members

Dear Committee Members is a winner of the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, an NPR “Best Books of 2014," and a Boston Globe “Best Books of 2014," among other honors. 

About the Book: 

Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the midwest. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His life, a tale of woe, is revealed in a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies.

Praise for Dear Committee Members:

“A hilarious academic novel that'll send you laughing (albeit ruefully) back into the trenches of the classroom. . . . [A] mordant minor masterpiece. . . . Like the best works of farce, academic or otherwise, Dear Committee Members deftly mixes comedy with social criticism and righteous outrage. By the end, you may well find yourself laughing so hard it hurts.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR

“If you like academic satires, you’ll love this novel, which is written as a series of recommendation letters by a cranky, long-suffering English professor. Like Richard Russo’s Straight Man this book has a lot to say about the humanities in American colleges and universities. It’s very funny and also moving.” —Tom Perrotta "In My Library", New York Post

“For that reason, I entreat you, now that you’ve reviewed my précis, to read Ms. Schumacher’s book. It is easily consumed in small pieces, like a tray of sweets and savories. It is ideal for passing the time between innings of a baseball game, waiting for a long red light to change, or sitting in a warm bath. As for Jason Fitger, I implore you to take a leap of faith and offer him admission to your next available residency. The worlds of business and academia will be poorer for lack of his letters, but perhaps, with your support, he can find a way to channel his energy and inventiveness into a new novel—one that will hopefully be as entertaining and as sharply written as Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members.” —Jon Michaud, The New Yorker

About the Author: 

Julie Schumacher grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from Oberlin College and Cornell University. Her first novel, The Body Is Water, was published by Soho Press in 1995 and was an ALA Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her other books include a short story collection, An Explanation for Chaos, and five books for younger readers. She lives in St. Paul and is a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of Minnesota.