His membership safely confirmed, Sedaris joins an elite group which over the past century and a half has included Langston Hughes, Georgia O’Keeffe and John Updike. This year, the academy voted in 11 new members, among them the multimedia artist Meredith Monk, poet-playwright Claudia Rankine, poet-essayist Grace Schulman, author-essayist Ian Frazier, author-conservationist Terry Tempest Williams and violinist-composer Chen Yi.
Others include four Pulitzer Prize winners from a variety of fields: playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, fiction writer Edward P. Jones, historian Stacy Schiff and poet Natasha Trethewey.
An honor society founded in 1898, the academy has 240 core members, in the categories of books, music and art. New artists are voted in after previous ones die, with those dying over the past year including Philip Roth, Donald Hall and Ursula K. Le Guin.
New members will formally join in May, at a ceremony held at the academy’s complex in upper Manhattan, where composer David Del Tredici will give the keynote address. The academy will also hand out literary medals, and Rankine, Yi and Sedaris are among those who have been awarded in the past. Sedaris was honored last year with a Medal for Spoken Language.
David Sedaris is the bestselling author of the books Calypso, Theft By Finding, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Holidays on Ice, Naked, and Barrel Fever. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and BBC Radio 4.