Sven Birkerts

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Sven Birkerts
Born (1951-09-21) September 21, 1951 (age 67)
Pontiac, Michigan, United States
OccupationEssayist, literary critic
RelativesGunnar Birkerts (father)

Sven Birkerts (born September 21, 1951) is an American essayist and literary critic of Latvian ancestry. He is best known for his book The Gutenberg Elegies, which posits a decline in reading due to the overwhelming advances of the Internet and other technologies of the "electronic culture."

Birkerts was born in Pontiac, Michigan. He graduated from Cranbrook School and then from the University of Michigan in 1973.

Birkerts is Director of the Bennington College Writing Seminars and the editor of AGNI, the literary journal. He has taught writing at Harvard University, Emerson College, Amherst College, and Mount Holyoke College.

He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts with his wife Lynn. He has two children, Mara and Liam.

His father was noted architect Gunnar Birkerts.


  • An Artificial Wilderness: Essays on 20th Century Literature. (1987). New York: William Morrow.
  • The Electric Life: Essays on Modern Poetry. (1989). New York: William Morrow.
  • American Energies: Essays on Fiction. (1992). New York: William Morrow.
  • The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. (1994). Boston: Faber and Faber.
  • Readings. (1999). St. Paul, MN: Graywolf Press.
  • My Sky Blue Trades: Growing Up Counter in a Contrary Time. (2002). New York: Viking.
  • The Other Walk. (2011). St. Paul, MN: Graywolf Press.
  • Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age. (2015). St. Paul, MN: Graywolf Press.


  • Alger, Derek. "Interview, May 1, 2005". pif Magazine. Retrieved 2010-06-18.