Richard Lederer

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Richard Lederer at 2006 World Gathering

Richard Lederer (born 1938) is an American Mensan who is an author and teacher best known for his books on word play and the English language, and his use of oxymorons. His column, "Looking at Language", is syndicated in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States.

In 1998, he founded a weekly radio show, A Way with Words, broadcast by KPBS, San Diego Public Radio, and heard world-wide via streaming internet and podcast. In an announcement posted on October 19, 2006, Lederer announced his retirement from broadcasting. He will, however, make occasional appearances on the show as the "verbivore emeritus." (Grant Barrett joined Lederer's long-time co-host Martha Barnett on the show beginning in January 2007.)

Lederer attended Haverford College, entering as a pre-med student but switching to the English department soon thereafter. He attended graduate school at Harvard Law School and the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at Harvard University. He taught English and media at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire for 27 years, and earned a Ph.D in English and Linguistics from the University of New Hampshire.

His books include Anguished English, More Anguished English, Fractured English, Crazy English, A Man of My Words, The Word Circus, The Miracle of Language, and The Play of Words. Known as a "verbivore", Lederer's interests include uncovering word origins, pointing out common grammatical errors and fallacies, and exploring palindromes, anagrams, and other forms of recreational wordplay. He has been elected International Punster of the Year, and was the 2002 recipient of the Golden Gavel of Toastmasters International. He is a member of American Mensa, and is often a featured speaker at its gatherings.

Lederer is the father of Howard Lederer and Annie Duke, both nationally-ranked poker players, and Katy Lederer, an author and poet. He lives with his wife, Simone van Egeren, in San Diego. They met at a Mensa Gathering.

Lederer served as the 2007 commencement speaker at Case Western Reserve University.


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