Literature

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KCRW, Michael Silverblatt

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Intellectual, accessible, and provocative literary conversations.
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Danzy Senna: New People

0:00 | Aug 24th, 2017

In her novel New People, Danzy Senna relishes kicking political correctness to the curb. She believes that irony and humor are more effective than earnestness when writing about race and gender
Wallace Shawn: Night Thoughts

0:00 | Aug 10th, 2017

This show features a dramatic and emotional reading by writer/actor Wallace Shawn of an excerpt from Night Thoughts, his book-length essay.
Tayari Jones: An American Marriage

28:28 | May 2nd

Her fourth book, which took her six years to write, An American Marriage brought Tayari Jones to the attention of Oprah’s Book Club.
John Lanchester: The Wall

28:28 | Apr 25th

John Lanchester’s The Wall is a wild love story with a dystopian backdrop.
Nathan Englander: kaddish.com

28:28 | Apr 18th

In Nathan Englander’s  kaddish.com , a secular Jewish son experiments with the task of shepherding his father’s soul safely to rest.
Chris Cander: The Weight of a Piano

28:28 | Apr 11th

Chris Cander’s  The Weight of a Piano  explores characters with passionate attachments to things that have been lost.
Valeria Luiselli: Lost Children Archive

28:28 | Apr 4th

Valeria Luiselli's Lost Children Archive tells the story of a family by combining the American road trip subgenre with the Latin American tradition of an inward journey.
Elizabeth McCracken: Bowlaway

28:28 | Mar 28th

Her nature oppositional, Elizabeth McCracken’s Bowlaway is a sad, funny, hilarious, and melancholic novel.
Yiyun Li: Where Reasons End

28:27 | Mar 21st

In Yiyun Li’s Where Reasons End, a mother discovers a place where she can talk to her son who committed suicide.
Marlon James: Black Leopard, Red Wolf: The Dark Star Trilogy

28:28 | Mar 14th

Marlon James discusses the endlessly beautiful and brutal world of Black Leopard, Red Wolf, the first novel in The Dark Star Trilogy.
Chloe Aridjis: Sea Monsters

28:27 | Mar 7th

Sea Monsters is a fascinatingly consistent and exquisitely shaped novel by Chloe Aridjis.
Dennis Cooper and Zac Farley: Permanent Green Light

28:28 | Feb 28th

Bookworm alumnus Dennis Cooper, and collaborator Zac Farley, discuss the creative impulses behind their film Permanent Green Light.
Sam Lipsyte: Hark

28:28 | Feb 21st

A novel that presents ambiguity as a constant feature of modern life,   Hark   is a book full of tensions, written with Sam Lipsyte’s fine grain strangeness, and absent of easy answers.
Amanda Sthers: Holy Lands

28:28 | Feb 14th

A writer of ten novels in French, Holy Lands is the first novel by Amanda Sthers to appear in English, translated by herself.
Tosh Berman: Tosh: Growing Up in Wallace Berman’s World

28:28 | Feb 7th

Tosh Berman’s memoir,  Tosh: Growing Up in Wallace Berman’s World , is a depiction of culture brought into Los Angeles from the rest of the world: reinvented to be here.
Mary Ruefle: My Private Property

28:28 | Jan 31st

Mary Ruefle reads the entirety of her glorious and gruesome essay about shrunken heads, the title essay in her book My Private Property.
Diane Williams: The Collected Stories of Diane Williams

28:29 | Jan 24th

The original and indescribable writing of Diane Williams is showcased in over three hundred dazzling new and previously published shorts fictions from six releases,   The Collected Stories of Diane Williams.
Deborah Eisenberg: Your Duck Is My Duck: Stories

28:28 | Jan 17th

Again Deborah Eisenberg demonstrates herself as a masterful and electric writer, in her new collection of seven stories, Your Duck Is My Duck.
John Wray: Godsend

28:28 | Jan 10th

John Wray discusses writing about the extremes of subjectivity, and breaking the reader of expectations in his new novel, Godsend.
Jeff Jackson: Destroy All Monsters: The Last Rock Novel

28:28 | Jan 3rd

Jeff Jackson’s Destroy All Monsters: The Last Rock Novel comes at the same story from radically different angles that echo and rewrite each other.
Edward M. Burns and Jim Gauer: Questioning Minds: The Letters of Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner

28:28 | Dec 20th, 2018

A voluminous correspondence of an intellectual friendship between two literary geniuses,  Questioning Minds: The Letters of Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner, edited by Edward M. Burns.
Katharine Weber: Still Life with Monkey

28:27 | Dec 13th, 2018

Dramatic, emotional, and philosophical, Katherine Weber’s, Still Life with Monkey, is a profound book written in the old style, with depths orchestrated by the author.
Barbara Kingsolver: Unsheltered

28:28 | Dec 6th, 2018

In Barbara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered, char acters feel as if they did what was right in life, but get a bad deal at the end of their lives.
Leland de la Durantaye: Hannah Versus the Tree

28:28 | Nov 29th, 2018

Mythical and lyrical, written in love, Leland de la Durantaye’s debut novel Hannah Versus the Tree is original work that speaks to our moment.
Brian Phillips: Impossible Owls

28:28 | Nov 15th, 2018

The restless imagination of Brian Phillips brings lyrical essays to a narrative border in his debut book, Impossible Owls.
Eileen Myles: Evolution

28:29 | Nov 8th, 2018

Evolution is a collection of all-new material by Eileen Myles, whose inspired poetry is a form of communication.
Ben Fountain: Beautiful Country Burn Again

28:28 | Nov 1st, 2018

Ben Fountain writes with equal opportunity vexation, trying to make sense of what we’re doing in our lives, in his new book Beautiful Country Burn Again.
Susan Orlean: The Library Book

28:28 | Oct 25th, 2018

Susan Orlean’s The Library Book is about the cultural institution of libraries, with each chapter a source of its own excitement.
Tommy Orange: There There

28:28 | Oct 18th, 2018

Beauty and despair woven into their history, twelve multigenerational urban Native Americans find ways to live in Tommy Orange’s There There.
Gary Shteyngart: Lake Success

28:28 | Oct 11th, 2018

Gary Shteyngart’s Lake Success is about a hedge-fund manager billionaire who has lost track of what he once cared about and loved.
Patrick deWitt: French Exit

28:28 | Oct 4th, 2018

French Exit by Patrick deWitt, a vastly amusing novel about a spider woman.
Edward St. Aubyn: The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels

28:28 | Sep 27th, 2018

Edward St. Aubyn’s Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother’s Milk, and At Last: The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels, recently adapted into a five-episode limited series on Showtime.
Joshua Cohen and Samuel Nicholson: ATTENTION: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction

28:28 | Sep 20th, 2018

Samuel Nicholson edited three of Joshua Cohen’s books at Random House, including his recent collection of nonfiction, ATTENTION: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction.
Joshua Cohen: ATTENTION: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction

28:28 | Sep 13th, 2018

Joshua Cohen’s collection of nonfiction, ATTENTION: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction, examines the effect of the internet and technology on the human mind.
Mary Cappello, James Morrison, Jean Walton Buffalo Trace: A Threefold Vibration

28:28 | Sep 6th, 2018

Buffalo Trace: A Threefold Vibration, by Mary Cappello, James Morrison, and Jean Walton, is a trio of novella-length autographical essays about graduate school students who love to read.
Joshua Mattson: A Short Film About Disappointment

28:28 | Aug 30th, 2018

Joshua Mattson’s experimental debut novel, A Short Film About Disappointment, pulls the rug out from under the reader.
B. Catling: The Vorhh Trilogy (Part II)

28:28 | Aug 23rd, 2018

B. Catling further discusses learning to write The Vorhh Trilogy by being within it.
B. Catling: The Vorhh Trilogy (Part I)

28:28 | Aug 16th, 2018

In B. Catling’s The Vorrh Trilogy, a vast surrealist tapestry comes into being; cooperating with the reader’s desire.
Christian Kracht: The Dead

0:00 | Aug 9th, 2018

Christian Kracht’s The Dead is an expectations bending book with more tricks than a circus.
Lydia Millet: Fight No More

0:00 | Aug 2nd, 2018

Lydia Millet’s Fight No More is a book of improvised stories about people who live improvised lives in Los Angeles.
David Sedaris: Calypso

0:00 | Jul 26th, 2018

David Sedaris is hilarious but that’s just the obvious. He discusses the art of melancholy, and mortality, topics in his new book of humorous stories, Calypso.
Joseph McBride with Nicola Lubitsch: How Did Lubitsch Do It?

0:00 | Jul 19th, 2018

Nicola Lubitsch joins film historian Joseph McBride to discuss her father, Ernst, and McBride’s book about him, How Did Lubitsch Do It?
Presenting The Organist from McSweeney's

0:00 | Jul 13th, 2018

We share an episode of a KCRW podcast produced in collaboration with McSweeney's.
Lauren Groff: Florida

0:00 | Jul 12th, 2018

Characters in Lauren Groff’s collection of stories, Florida, try to meet the challenges of staying alive while life becomes more and more difficult.
A.M. Homes Days of Awe: Stories

0:00 | Jul 5th, 2018

In Days of Awe: Stories, A.M. Homes writes about characters who turn out not to be who they hoped to be, and unable to escape who they are.
Rita Bullwinkel: Belly Up

0:00 | Jun 28th, 2018

Bewildered imagination finds a home in the stories of Rita Bullwinkel's Belly Up.
Michael Ondaatje: Warlight (Part II)

0:00 | Jun 21st, 2018

Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight alters the rules about how big a novel’s canvas can be; it gives the feeling of completeness without telling all the secrets.
Michael Ondaatje: Warlight (Part I)

0:00 | Jun 14th, 2018

Michael Ondaatje fully embraces the fun of storytelling in this miracle of a novel, Warlight.
Mary Gaitskill: Somebody with a Little Hammer

0:00 | Jun 7th, 2018

Mary Gaitskill’s collection of essays, Somebody with a Little Hammer, explores prismatic perspectives on rich topics, including literature.
Linda Spalding: A Reckoning

0:00 | May 31st, 2018

Linda Spalding’s novel, A Reckoning, based on her family history, describes past nightmares that trickle into today.
Shauna Barbosa: Cape Verdean Blues

0:00 | May 24th, 2018

The poetry of Cape Verdean Blues is organic, melancholic, and gorgeous. Shauna Barbosa starts with feeling, shines with honesty, and questions everything.
Joyce Carol Oates: A Book of American Martyrs

0:00 | May 17th, 2018

Joyce Carol Oates discusses A Book of American Martyrs, a novel about what women are going to make of the American dream.
Leslie Jamison: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath

0:00 | May 10th, 2018

Leslie Jamison’s The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath is a book about the nightmare of feeling not enough, Jamison travels all 360 degrees of wanting to be the best and the worst, and has a great struggle to live in the middle ground.
Rachel Kushner: The Mars Room

0:00 | May 3rd, 2018

Rachel Kushner discusses The Mars Room, a novel set in a women’s correctional facility, a dazzling novel full of surprising details that can’t be forgotten.
Carol Muske-Dukes: Blue Rose

0:00 | Apr 26th, 2018

Carol Muske-Dukes discusses her book, Blue Rose. The poetry is written at the highest level but it’s about daily life: poetry as life story.
Christine Schutt: Pure Hollywood

0:00 | Apr 19th, 2018

Christine Schutt says her writing takes place in a danger zone. In Pure Hollywood, one novella and ten stories, she writes beyond weird, at a level that both frightens and empowers.
Junot Diaz: Islandborn

0:00 | Apr 12th, 2018

Devastatingly beautiful, soulful, a fulfillment of a promise to his goddaughter, Junot Diaz’s Islandborn offers a new map into children’s books.
Lynne Tillman: Men and Apparitions

0:00 | Apr 5th, 2018

A novel trapped in the mind of a very unusual man. Lynne Tillman writes with wit that makes the reader dance.
Sean Penn: Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff

0:00 | Mar 29th, 2018

A transcendent apocalyptic satire, an outrageous improvisation of a book, embedded with the rhythms of American prose, Sean Penn discusses his first novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff.
Roberta Allen: The Princess of Herself

0:00 | Mar 22nd, 2018

Roberta Allen says every truth can work as fiction. She discusses writing into the essence of a story. The Princess of Herself is interconnected stories of familiar but monstrous people not normally written about.
Ann Beattie and Richard Bausch on The Complete Stories of Peter Taylor

0:00 | Mar 15th, 2018

Two brilliant writers talk about a brilliant writer: Ann Beattie and Richard Bausch discuss the haunted dreamscapes of the short fiction of Peter Taylor.
Mokhtar Alkhanshali and Dave Eggers: The Monk of Mokha

0:00 | Mar 8th, 2018

For The Monk of Mokha, Dave Eggers writes the story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali bridging the country of his ancestors with the country where he lives. This is a conversation about the fate of immigrant life in America.
André Aciman: Call Me by Your Name / Enigma Variations

0:00 | Mar 1st, 2018

André Aciman takes the intensity, complexity, and variety of his Call Me by Your Name still further in his new novel, Enigma Variations.
Scott McClanahan: The Sarah Book / Crapalachia: A Biography of Place

0:00 | Feb 22nd, 2018

Scott McClanahan discusses two of his close-to- the-bone and personal novels: The Sarah Book and Crapalachia: A Biography of Place.
Víctor Terán and David Shook: Like A New Sun: New Indigenous Mexican Poetry

0:00 | Feb 15th, 2018

Víctor Terán and David Shook discuss the music of Isthmus Zapotec and poetry translated for Like A New Sun.
Matthew McIntosh: theMystery.doc

0:00 | Feb 8th, 2018

Matthew McIntosh’s theMystery.doc asks a reader to consider what a book is, while exploring how a book can be like life.
Jane Gillette: The Trail of the Demon and Other Stories

0:00 | Feb 1st, 2018

Jane Gillette describes the wicked writing of her first book, The Trail of the Demon and Other Stories.
Ursula LeGuin

0:00 | Jan 25th, 2018

Revisiting Ursula LeGuin, the immensely popular author who changed science fiction and fantasy for millions of readers. She died this month at the age of 88.
Isabel Allende: In the Midst of Winter

0:00 | Jan 18th, 2018

Storytelling queen Isabel Allende wrote a time-crossing, culture-hopping chamber piecethat gives faces to immigration during these dark times for literature, In the Midst of Winter.
Chris Kraus: After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography

0:00 | Jan 11th, 2018

In her stunning After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography, Chris Kraus wrote not of theory but of writing, creativity, and the depth a writer has to go to form an identity.
Joe Hagan: Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine

0:00 | Jan 4th, 2018

In Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine, Joe Hagan explores the countercultural rise of the late-60s rock and roll teen society.
Anne Fadiman: The Wine Lover's Daughter

0:00 | Dec 21st, 2017

Anne Fadiman discusses topics from The Wine Lover’s Daughter: wine, literature, and her father Clifton.
William H. Gass Tribute

0:00 | Dec 14th, 2017

The great novelist, essayist and prose stylist William H. Gass died last week at 93. This tribute show is composed of excerpts from previous Bookworm conversations with Gass.
Charmaine Craig: Miss Burma

0:00 | Dec 7th, 2017

A moody historical novel, Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig explores history as it is inscribed in the souls of a rather special Burmese family.
Jennifer Egan: Manhattan Beach

0:00 | Nov 30th, 2017

Without spoilers, we discuss the intricate surprises and complex modes of disclosure in Jennifer Egan's new novel Manhattan Beach.
Mark Danielewski: The Familiar, Volume 5

0:00 | Nov 16th, 2017

The Familiar, Volume 5: Redwood, by Mark Danielewski, closes Season One of a serial novel imagined as a vast TV series.
Sparks (Part II)

0:00 | Nov 9th, 2017

The second conversation with brothers Ron and Russell Mael of the band Sparks, along with stripped-down versions of two songs from their new album Hippopotamus.
Sparks (Part I)

0:00 | Nov 2nd, 2017

Sparks plays stripped-down acoustic versions of art rock songs off their new album Hippopotamus, along with a classic song, and the theme to Bookworm, Where Would We Be without Books.
Eileen Myles: Afterglow (a dog memoir)

0:00 | Oct 26th, 2017

Beloved writer Eileen Myles didn't make up the dog but she did make up Afterglow (a dog memoir).
Kazuo Ishiguro

0:00 | Oct 19th, 2017

We sample 25 years of Bookworm conversations with Kazuo Ishiguro, the 2017 Nobel Prize Laureate for literature.
Stephen Greenblatt: The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve

0:00 | Oct 12th, 2017

Following his National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize celebrated The Swerve, in the elaborately readable The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve Stephen Greenblatt explores reasons why the story of Genesis has seized the imagination.
Nicole Krauss: Forest Dark

0:00 | Oct 5th, 2017

Nicole Krauss took a risk by writing about two protagonists who never meet. Krauss says she let herself follow the characters of Forest Dark into the unknown.
Andrew Sean Greer: Less

0:00 | Sep 28th, 2017

In his novel Less, Andrew Sean Greer discusses filterless writing and the idea of getting what you want in a world bent on not giving you what you want.
Matthew Klam: Who Is Rich?

0:00 | Sep 21st, 2017

Matthew Klam reveals that his novel Who is Rich? ponders the meaning of wealth. Is richness having a big bank account or is it being happy with your lot in life?
Mark Z. Danielewski: The Familiar

0:00 | Sep 14th, 2017

Mark Danielewski says he wants to give words to animals, to plants, to the waves of the ocean. His vast serial novel The Familiar begins with a young girl rescuing a cat.
Ryan Gattis: Safe

0:00 | Aug 17th, 2017

Ryan Gattis reveals that one day he got a call, asking if he'd like to watch a former gang member crack a safe.  Thus, the novel Safe was born.
Deborah Treisman: The Dream Colony

0:00 | Aug 3rd, 2017

The Dream Colony: A Life in Art is a posthumous memoir that captures the dazzling verbal gifts of Los Angeles art curator Walter Hopps.
Arundhati Roy: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

0:00 | Jul 27th, 2017

Trained as an architect, Roy reveals that she structured her novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness like an Indian metropolis where ancient neighborhoods collide with modern urban planning.
Jim Gauer: Novel Explosives

0:00 | Jul 20th, 2017

Quantum physics, the theory of relativity, and the miracle of the solar system fuel Novel Explosives, Jim Gauer’s ambitious and challenging novel.
Joshua Cohen: Moving Kings

0:00 | Jul 13th, 2017

In the family novel, Moving Kings, Joshua Cohen weaves together the tragedy of Israeli occupation with an American housing crisis.
Peter Cole: Hymns & Qualms

0:00 | Jul 6th, 2017

Poet and translator Peter Cole reveals that his intention is to yoke together beauty and terror in his new book Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations.
Zachary Mason: Void Star

0:00 | Jun 29th, 2017

Zachary Mason insists that Void Star is not cyber-punk  Although it is set more than 100 years in the future during climate catastrophe, he describes the novel as literary fiction that uses science fiction and genre elements.
Alan Felsenthal: Lowly

0:00 | Jun 22nd, 2017

Alan Felsenthal's first book of poetry, Lowly, moves in the direction of the visionary, the mystical and the metaphysical.
Yiyun Li: Dear Friend, from My Life, I Write to You in Your Life

0:00 | Jun 15th, 2017

Written about a time when she was hospitalized for depression, Yiyun Li's Dear Friend, from My Life, I Write to You in Your Life is a combination of memoir and essay.  She believes that cherished writers saved her from sorrow and suicidal ideation.
Colm Tóibín: House of Names

0:00 | Jun 8th, 2017

In his novel House of Names, Colm Tóibín finds, in adapting Greek tragedy, a home for all of his old concerns and room for new ones, too.
Claudio Magris: Blameless

0:00 | Jun 1st, 2017

In Claudio Magris' Blameless, a museum of the implements of war and destruction is created to inspire peace. But this conversation is not just about war and peace.
Morgan Parker: There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé

0:00 | May 25th, 2017

Morgan Parker says that the poems in her book There Are Things More Beautiful than Beyoncé take a stand against the clichés of the dominant culture.
Brad Gooch: Rumi's Secret

0:00 | May 18th, 2017

Biographer Brad Gooch reveals that he traveled 2500 miles to trace Rumi's footsteps, learned Persian and spent eight years to write Rumi's Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love.
Richard Bausch: Living in the Weather of the World

0:00 | May 11th, 2017

Has the feeling of doom become our weather? If so, Richard Bausch says he contends with contemporary life by writing about people coping with loss and sorrow.
Ron Padgett: Motor Maids across the Continent

0:00 | May 4th, 2017

Poet Ron Padgett reveals that in the 1960s, he found a dusty novel in a Manhattan bookstore. Originally written for teenage girls during World War I, Padgett has been playfully rewriting it ever since.
Steven Moore: My Back Pages

0:00 | Apr 27th, 2017

Steven Moore has gathered his book reviews and essays that take us from the Beats and the Fifties to practically yesterday or even tomorrow.
Julian Talamantez Brolaski: Of Mongrelitude

0:00 | Apr 20th, 2017

Talamantez Brolaski is trans-gender and describes himself as a multi-gendered, racial and linguistic mongrel.  His poems chart a journey out of pain, confusion and darkness into a visionary state.
Elif Batuman: The Idiot

0:00 | Apr 13th, 2017

Selin, the heroine of Batuman’s autobiographical first novel, The Idiot, is an 18-year-old Harvard freshman of Turkish-American descent.  Set in 1995, the novel observes the rise of internet culture.
George Toles: Paul Thomas Anderson

0:00 | Apr 6th, 2017

Screenwriter and critic George Toles' study of writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson focuses on his more recent films, including Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood and The Master. Toles values tracking his deepest personal experiences while watchin...Show More
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part II)

0:00 | Mar 30th, 2017

Known for the outrageous comedy of his acclaimed short stories, George Saunders says that daring to write this novel about grief, loss and the journey of the soul was like jumping off a cliff.
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I)

0:00 | Mar 23rd, 2017

Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."
Emil Ferris: My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

0:00 | Mar 16th, 2017

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Emil Ferris' debut graphic novel, is the diary of a ten-year-old girl obsessed with monsters who also believes she herself is a werewolf.
Gary Groth on Fantagraphics and the art of the graphic novel

0:00 | Mar 9th, 2017

Gary Groth, editor of Fantagraphics, publisher of some of the most notable graphic novels today, discusses the rise of comics, what makes a good graphic novel, and what his selection process is like.
Álvaro Enrigue: Sudden Death

0:00 | Mar 2nd, 2017

Álvaro Enrigue's Sudden Death is the wild tale of a tennis match between the poet Francisco de Quevedo and the artist Caravaggio that transcends time and involves other historically transformative, and often combative, figures. Enrigue, who calls his...Show More
Rachel Cusk: Transit

0:00 | Feb 23rd, 2017

Rachel Cusk's novel Transit is the second in a planned trilogy. Cusk believes that humans have an innate grasp of form, a gift that makes us story-tellers. But the stories we tell ourselves can become traps.
Steve Erickson: Shadowbahn

0:00 | Feb 15th, 2017

In Erickson's intense, absorbing novel, the Twin Towers suddenly re-appear in the Dakota Badlands. This road novel is a trip through a phantom country where the American dream was never realized.
Michael Tolkin: NK3

0:00 | Feb 9th, 2017

The North Koreans have tested a weapon called NK3, a weaponized nano-bacterium designed to confuse South Koreans. The test has spread around the world. As a result, the world has lost its memory.
Ron Padgett: Collected Poems

0:00 | Feb 2nd, 2017

Padgett's poems stand in for the poems written by a bus driver in the Jim Jarmusch movie Paterson. Padgett experiences writing poetry as a natural activity, rather like brushing his teeth.
Ottessa Moshfegh: Homesick for Another World (Part II)

0:00 | Jan 26th, 2017

In the second half of our conversation with Ottessa Moshfegh, the author discusses her discomfort in this world but admits that there is a touch of self-parody in the title of this collection of stories.
Ottessa Moshfegh: Homesick for Another World (Part I)

0:00 | Jan 19th, 2017

In the first of two conversations with Ottessa Moshfegh, the author reveals that she doesn't feel comfortable in this world. Her characters long for another world, as does Moshfegh.
Lynne Tillman: The Complete Madame Realism and Other Stories

0:00 | Jan 12th, 2017

Lynne Tillman's The Complete Madame Realism and Other Stories, is a unique blend of short fiction, essays, and philosophical musings that defy categorization.
Don DeLillo: Zero K

0:00 | Jan 5th, 2017

In Don DeLillo's latest novel, Zero K, the practice of cryonics or freezing oneself to be awakened later, is in full, but secret swing.
Colson Whitehead: The Underground Railroad

0:00 | Dec 29th, 2016

Colson Whitehead's new great American novel depicts a real underground railroad that transports a fugitive slave to stops that defy time and history, highlighting the daily struggles of black people, past and present.
Patrick Ness: A Monster Calls

0:00 | Dec 22nd, 2016

Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls – about a boy facing tremendous conflict with a bully at school, well-meaning inattentive teachers, and a dying mother – was actually already a story begun by another writer, who died before finishing it.
Rabih Alameddine: The Angel of History

0:00 | Dec 15th, 2016

Rabih Alameddine's The Angel of History takes place as much in the protagonist's head as it does in a psych ward where he checks himself in for a bit of rest while he battles the voices in his head.
Mitch Sisskind: Do Not Be a Gentleman When You say Goodnight

0:00 | Dec 8th, 2016

Mitch Sisskind's Do Not Be a Gentleman When You Say Goodnight is a distillation of nearly fifty years of brilliant comic writing.
Peter Orner: Am I Alone Here?

0:00 | Dec 1st, 2016

When novelist Peter Orner's father died, he found himself unable to write. At the same time, his marriage fell apart. He consoled himself by reading and started to write responses to the literature that gave him comfort.
Kate Tempest: The Bricks that Built the Houses

0:00 | Nov 24th, 2016

Rapper, poet, playwright and now novelist, Kate Tempest always knew she would write The Bricks that Built the Houses as an accompaniment to the characters in her record Everybody Down. (Rebroadcast)
TC Boyle: The Terranauts

0:00 | Nov 17th, 2016

TC Boyle's The Terranauts centers around eight earth explorers who lock themselves up in E2, a biodome created to mimic earth and test the viability of a self-sustained environment. But what happens between the eight terranauts and their mission cont...Show More
Tessa Hadley: The Past

0:00 | Nov 10th, 2016

Tessa Hadley's book, The Past, has at its center a summer vacation home, and the four middle-aged siblings who come together to decide whether to sell it or not.
Ann Patchett: Commonwealth

0:00 | Nov 3rd, 2016

Ann Patchett's latest novel, Commonwealth, follows fifty-two years in the life of a large family. The idea of the book came to her because as a bookstore owner, she saw that what was missing from the shelves was the story of a big, modern family.
Jonathan Safran Foer: Here I Am

0:00 | Oct 27th, 2016

The hero of Here I Am is a pun-loving television writer who is pummeled by the loss of everything he values.  This novel expands a family crisis into a global crisis which threatens the state of Israel.
Nicholson Baker: Substitute

0:00 | Oct 20th, 2016

Nicholson Baker's Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids was born of a desire to write a book articulating his theories about education – theories based on having had kids in school. Realizing his premise was weak, as he'd never been a teac...Show More
Nadja Spiegelman: I'm Supposed to Protect You from All This

0:00 | Oct 13th, 2016

Since memory is not only malleable but unreliable, which version of the truth will prevail?
Jacqueline Woodson: Another Brooklyn

0:00 | Oct 6th, 2016

Another Brooklyn, award-winning Young Adult novelist Jacqueline Woodson's first novel for adults in twenty years, tells the story of childhood friends as they grow into women.
Marisa Silver: Little Nothing

0:00 | Sep 29th, 2016

An ugly young dwarf girl transforms first into a beauty, then into a tall woman, then into a wolf.
Affinity Konar: Mischling

0:00 | Sep 22nd, 2016

In Auschwitz, the infamous Dr. Mengele conducted horrifying physical and psychological experiments on concentration camp prisoners. Affinity Konar's Mischling (meaning mixed blood) is the story of twin sisters who find themselves imprisoned in Dr. Me...Show More
Adam Fitzgerald: George Washington

0:00 | Sep 8th, 2016

Adam Fitzgerald's poetry in George Washington: Poems comes across as playful while exploring the concept of Americana and what that means.
Krys Lee: How I Became a North Korean

0:00 | Sep 1st, 2016

Krys Lee's first novel dramatizes boundaries and borders – not just political ones but those that complicate human relationships.
Joe McGinniss Jr: Carousel Court

0:00 | Aug 25th, 2016

A married couple wind up in a wasteland of foreclosed houses and abandoned homes.
Tom McCarthy: Satin Island

0:00 | Aug 18th, 2016

Tom McCarthy's Satin Island features a protagonist who, as his company's corporate anthropologist, has been given the enormous task of compiling a report summing up the modern era.
Tom Lutz: Drinking Mare's Milk on the Roof of the World

0:00 | Aug 11th, 2016

In his travels to more than 100 countries – some dangerous, some surprisingly not – Tom Lutz finds that the more places he goes, the more the world leaves him a little bit lost.
Michelle Latiolais: She

0:00 | Aug 4th, 2016

Neither a novel nor a collection of stories, the "fictions" in She  weave together a composite view of Los Angeles.
Constantine Phipps: What You Want

0:00 | Jul 28th, 2016

A tale of the ordinary, everyday quest for contentedness -- written entirely in heroic couplets.
Vivian Gornick: The Odd Woman and the City

0:00 | Jul 21st, 2016

Vivian Gornick's memoir The Odd Woman and the City takes us on a tour of a life that is lived by walking, observing and talking. Gornick keeps her eyes open, and does she ever have a mouth on her!
Geoff Dyer: White Sands

0:00 | Jul 14th, 2016

Paradoxically, Geoff Dyer begins his attempt to locate America by first traveling to Tahiti. There, he discovers that Gauguin’s vision of it no longer exists – if it ever really did. Can he find the soul of America in its landscapes?
Louise Erdrich: LaRose, Part II

0:00 | Jul 7th, 2016

In part two of this conversation about LaRose – Louise Erdrich's novel about an act of restorative justice that tests the boundaries between two families – the discussion explores the non-linear form the novel moves in towards seeking balance and res...Show More
Louise Erdrich: LaRose, Part I

0:00 | Jun 30th, 2016

In Louise Erdrich's LaRose, a terrible tragedy forces two families to resort to a form of traditional "restorative justice" in which one son must be given to replace the loss of another. Erdrich talks about this act as an attempt at restoring balance...Show More
Joyce Carol Oates: The Man Without a Shadow

0:00 | Jun 23rd, 2016

Joyce Carol Oates raises questions about memory – ethics, what it means to love, identity, and the ability to engage, and takes us on a trip down memory lane with a reading from a previous memoir recounting her favorite bad-for-you childhood foods.
A. Scott Berg: Max Perkins

0:00 | Jun 9th, 2016

A. Scott Berg's Max Perkins: Editor of Genius is the biography of Maxwell Perkins, a long time Scribner editor who worked with the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe.
John Keene: Counternarratives

0:00 | Jun 2nd, 2016

John Keene takes classic American narratives and stands them on their heads. In North and South American tales, he writes about the "others" (Indians, blacks, queers) to re-examine stories we think we know.
John D'Agata: The Making of the American Essay

0:00 | May 26th, 2016

Despite 20 years of study, John D'Agata believes that we're still in the "Wild West" of coming to terms with the essay, its long heritage and its creation.
Valeria Luiselli: The Story of My Teeth

0:00 | May 19th, 2016

Originally commissioned to write a novel for Jumex, a Mexican beverage company and supporter of the arts, Luiselli instead chose to write a novel for Jumex's factory workers.
Garth Greenwell: What Belongs to You

0:00 | May 12th, 2016

Greenwell's first novel examines the relationship between an American teacher in Bulgaria with a male prostitute.
David Means: Hystopia

0:00 | Apr 28th, 2016

After four acclaimed short story collections, Means' first novel takes on the Vietnam War.
Helen Macdonald: H Is for Hawk

0:00 | Apr 21st, 2016

Helen Macdonald's new book is her account of working through her grief over her father's death by adopting and training a goshawk.
Christopher Sorrentino: The Fugitives

0:00 | Apr 14th, 2016

The characters of Christopher Sorrentino's novel are unreliable narrators. They're liars who hide the truth, not only from themselves but ultimately from the reader.
Greg Jackson: Prodigals

0:00 | Apr 7th, 2016

Greg Jackson's new collection of eight stories follows the lives of youngish people of privilege on their journey to deconstruct just what their destination is supposed to be. But his characters might be running up against the mystery of themselves.
Brian Blanchfield: Proxies

0:00 | Mar 31st, 2016

Blanchfield's essays reveal truths about a queer poet in the post-AIDS era.
Dana Spiotta: Innocents and Others

0:00 | Mar 24th, 2016

Dana Spiotta's Innocents and Others tells the feminist story of how women make do in a male-dominated world through two female filmmaker best friends, and a third, troubled woman adept at beguiling powerful Hollywood men.
David Remnick and Deborah Treisman on fiction in the New Yorker

0:00 | Mar 17th, 2016

David Remnick and Deborah Treisman, editor and fiction editor, take us through the fiction at the New Yorker and how it has changed over the years.
Joshua Cohen: Book of Numbers

0:00 | Mar 10th, 2016

Joshua Cohen's The Book of Numbers  follows the rise of the Internet through a protagonist he modeled after some of the web's biggest shapers, including Google's Sergey Brin, but mostly Apple's Steve Jobs.
Elizabeth McKenzie: The Portable Veblen

0:00 | Mar 3rd, 2016

Elizabeth McKenzie's half screwball romantic comedy and half critique of the conspicuous consumption of the leisure class, featuring a heroine named after the depressive American economist Thorstein Veblen and a cast that includes advice-giving squir...Show More
Mark de Silva: Square Wave

0:00 | Feb 25th, 2016

Philosopher Mark de Silva's debut novel shows what a novel can do when it goes off the beaten track.
Darryl Pinckney: Black Deutschland

0:00 | Feb 18th, 2016

Darryl Pinckney talks about the attraction of leaving America to discover how to be an African-American in America.
Ryan Gattis: All Involved

0:00 | Feb 11th, 2016

Ryan Gattis' new book, All Involved, is really a reconstitution of the L.A. riots from a person who wasn't there.
Larissa MacFarquhar: Strangers Drowning

0:00 | Feb 4th, 2016

Larissa MacFarquhar writes about do-gooders who practice effective altruism. They don't care what others think of their extreme choices. They care about being effective.
Edmund de Waal: The White Road

0:00 | Jan 28th, 2016

Edmund de Waal takes us on a vast journey into the history and heart, skin and bones of porcelain.
Bruce Bauman: Broken Sleep

0:00 | Jan 21st, 2016

Bruce Bauman's new novel is like a family with everyone, including the reader, struggling to find a place, a home, a sense of community.
Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners

0:00 | Jan 14th, 2016

Poets and editors CAConrad, Robert Dewhurst, and Joshua Beckman talk both about groundbreaking, boldly gay poet/activist, John Wieners, and about the process of compiling and honoring such a prolific poet with the selected works book.
Rick Moody: Hotels of North America

0:00 | Jan 7th, 2016

Hotel reviews that really, become reviews on life.
Salman Rushdie: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

0:00 | Dec 31st, 2015

Salman Rushdie's version of The Arabian Nights, his attempt to understand what the through-line of the collection of classic tales is and partly as a portrait of the human race and its salvation. (Repeat)
Paul Murray: The Mark and the Void

0:00 | Dec 24th, 2015

Paul Murray's comic novel dramatizes an economic crisis in his native Ireland, one that imperils the vitality of Dublin's culture.
Eileen Myles: I Must Be Living Twice

0:00 | Dec 17th, 2015

Poet, fiction writer, essayist and dramatist Eileen Myles on success, the relevancy of poetry and surviving as a poet
Isabel Allende: The Japanese Lover

0:00 | Dec 10th, 2015

Allende brings her emotional wisdom to the love lives of three generations of post World War II Asian and Jewish characters.
Sandra Cisneros: A House of My Own

0:00 | Dec 3rd, 2015

Sandra Cisneros, now in her sixties, looks back at her journey to find her voice, in a candid memoir woven from prose, photographs, and essays.
Jonathan Franzen: Purity

0:00 | Nov 26th, 2015

Jonathan Franzen's latest book is an exploration of intensely intimate relationships and the inevitability of their destructive effects.
Gary Indiana: I Can Give You Anything but Love

0:00 | Nov 19th, 2015

The outlandish and unguarded Gary Indiana has written what can be described as an "anti-memoir." He doesn't like memoirs but has written one himself, partly because he has lived a real life all over the world: he actually has something to write about...Show More
Mary Karr: The Art of Memoir

0:00 | Nov 12th, 2015

Is it common practice to lie in a memoir? Not for accomplished memoirists, according to Mary Karr. The Art of Memoir, in part a how-to book, distills 30 years of teaching and writing memoir.
Joy Williams: The Visiting Privilege

0:00 | Nov 5th, 2015

The writer's writer, Joy Williams, has written a book that spans her body of work – from familiar stories to new ones, showcases her deep, natural understanding of the process of writing.
Patrick deWitt: Undermajordomo Minor

0:00 | Oct 29th, 2015

Patrick deWitt's latest book follows his penchant for building humiliation into his novels.
Bill Clegg: Did You Ever Have a Family

0:00 | Oct 22nd, 2015

Bill Clegg makes the transition from memoirist to novelist. His book and its title are a statement on the kindness of strangers and the necessity to fashion one's own family.
Ann Beattie: The State We're In

0:00 | Oct 15th, 2015

In The State We're In: Maine Stories, Ann Beattie deftly and effortlessly takes the ingredients that make up short stories and shakes them up to create something new and beautiful.
Bonnie Nadzam and Dale Jamieson: Love in the Anthropocene

0:00 | Oct 1st, 2015

Fiction writer Bonnie Nadzam and environmental philosopher, Dale Jamieson, worked together to write Love in the Anthropocene, a collection of five short stories that describe a very near future in which nature as we know it no longer exists.
Dodie Bellamy: When the Sick Rule the World

0:00 | Sep 17th, 2015

In this collection of prose pieces, Bellamy explodes the essay form into poetry, personal memoire and literary analysis
William T. Vollmann: The Dying Grass, Part II

0:00 | Sep 10th, 2015

The Dying Grass: A Novel of the Nez Perce War is the fifth book in Vollman's seven-book series about loss and transformation of the North American continent, this novel dramatizes a power grab disguised as a race war between Native Americans and sett...Show More
William T. Vollmann: The Dying Grass, Part I

0:00 | Sep 3rd, 2015

The rise of corporate America begins with the ruthless acquisition of Indian land in this massively researched epic which evokes the language, the food, and the lost customs of the Nez Perce.   This is the first of two conversations about William Vol...Show More
Allison Green: The Ghosts Who Travel with Me

0:00 | Aug 27th, 2015

A conversation with the author and Emily Goldman of Ooligan Press.
Louisa Hall: Speak

0:00 | Aug 20th, 2015

Louisa Hall's novel Speak considers the Alan Turing test:  how do we know if what we are communicating with via machine is human?
Mira Gonzalez and Tao Lin: Selected Tweets

0:00 | Aug 13th, 2015

Mira Gonzalez and Tao Lin's Selected Tweets is a compendium of tweets -- often dark and dispairing, but also bitingly funny -- written over the course of ten years, sometimes under their own names, sometimes using assumed names.
E. L. Doctorow: Homer & Langley

0:00 | Aug 6th, 2015

In this comic and affecting novel based on the lives of the Collyer brothers — one a blind pianist, the other a hoarder and inventor — Doctorow creates an ironic allegory of modern America.