|Growing up in southern New York State, Sedaris was raised in aclose-knit Greek-American family with five siblings. While in elementary school, his family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina when his father, an IBM engineer, was transferred. During his childhood, he suffered from obsessive-compulsive tendencies that later subsided like incessant counting and systematically touching objects on his path, while consoling himself with rocking. Sedaris also became aware at any early age that he was homosexual, but adamantly denied it and joined his peers in homophobic taunts. After high school, he enrolled in Kent State University, but dropped out shortly thereafter, hitchhiked cross-country, and started the series of menial jobs that he eventually documented in his much-lauded essays. Although he didn't read much as a child, he started keeping a diary during this hitchhiking stint and caught up on classics and contemporary fiction. He moved to Chicago at age 27 to attend the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied painting and taught writing courses, eventually graduating in 1987. Although National Public Radio's Ira Glass discovered him entertaining audiences in a Chicago club with selections from his diary, he didn't start contributing to NPR until after he moved to New York in 1991. His writing career took off when he chronicled his experiences working as a Macy's elf in "Santaland Diaries," which aired originally on NPR's Morning Edition in 1992. He eventually left his apartment-cleaning job to concentrate on writing full-time, but continues to write about the numerous other jobs he held since high school: state mental hospital volunteer, apple picker, mover, and office worker. Sedaris doesn't own a computer and wrote with a manual typewriter until he received an electric model as a Christmas present at 32. Aside from other quirks like his taxidermy collection, Sedaris is known for a distinctive high-pitched voice he detests and conversational writing that is satirical, humorous, poignant, and slightly twisted. He was closer to his mother--a tough-talking, hard-drinking, incessant-smoking housewife--than his father. She died of lung cancer while continuing to smoke, and Sedaris smokes two packs a day and wrote an essay mocking militant, air-preserving nonsmokers. Although he is credited as one of the first openly homosexual contributors to NPR that isn't issue-oriented, Sedaris insists on merging his homosexuality naturally within the larger context of his work instead of becoming an outspoken advocate for gay issues. Sedaris continues to write short stories, "true enough" essays, and plays, the latter collaborations with his sister, actor and playwright Amy Sedaris, under the name of the Talent Family.