Essayist Tom Bissell's work in publishing has led him to write and speak about the changes in the book industry, and what they mean for readers and writers. His most recent book, Extra Lives, a work of criticism about video games, looks at video games as an alternative narrative delivery medium (among their other qualities).
Tom Bissell was born in Escanaba, Michigan, in 1974. After graduating from Michigan State University, he worked briefly as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan and then as a book editor in New York City. His first book,Chasing the Sea, a travel narrative, was published in 2003. God Lives in St. Petersburg, a story collection, was published in 2005 and won the Rome Prize. The Father of All Things, a hybrid work of history and memoir about his father and the Vietnam War, was published in 2007 and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Kiriyama Prize. Extra Lives, a work of criticism about video games, was published in 2010. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Harper's, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The New Yorker, The New Republic, McSweeney's, Granta, The New York Times Magazine, and Tin House, and been anthologized in the Best American series seven times. He has lived in Michigan, Uzbekistan, New York, Saigon, Rome, Las Vegas, Estonia, and is currently based in Los Angeles.
The Solarium Symposium is co-sponsored by MLibrary and Rackham Graduation School.