Writers & Writing

Author interviews, poetry and storytelling.

Cultural Appropriation Is, In Fact, Indefensible

3 hours ago

Last week, the New York Times published an op-ed titled "In Defense of Cultural Appropriation" in which writer Kenan Malik attempted to extol the virtues of artistic appropriation and chastise those who would stand in the way of necessary "cultural engagement." (No link, because you have Google and I'd rather not give that piece more traffic than it deserves.) What would have happened, he argues, had Elvis Presley not been able to swipe the sounds of black musicians?

Multiple Narratives Mean Non-Stop Action In 'The Child'

6 hours ago

Some books tell you a great deal, while other books show even more. I'm happy to report that Fiona Barton's second novel, The Child, falls firmly into the second camp. That's not because of the usual "show, don't tell" dictum that so many novelists hear from instructors, but because Barton has a reason to keep readers firmly in the action. More on that shortly.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Tales from the American West are marked by heroism, romance and plenty of cruelty. Among those stories, the saga of the Donner Party stands alone — a band of pioneers set out in covered wagons for California, and eventually, stranded, snowbound and starving, resorted to cannibalism.

Venture capital is concentrated on the coasts. Most of the investment for new, high-tech businesses goes to Silicon Valley, New York or Boston. Steve Case wants to change that.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Over the past few months, we've been talking about how we find ourselves in such uncertain times. Some think it's because of the divisions among us.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Nordic speculative-fiction scene has become increasingly prominent in the past few years, with authors such Leena Krohn and Johanna Sinisalo, both from Finland, garnering fresh attention and translations in the United States. In Sweden, one of the most promising authors of science fiction and fantasy in recent years has been Karin Tidbeck.

The first book of the Harry Potter series went on sale in the U.K. 20 years ago today. It offers a convenient excuse to reacquaint yourself with a world before anyone on this side of the Atlantic had heard of muggles, horcruxes or pensieves, before tourists would crowd into London's Kings Cross railway station simply to peer wistfully at the space between Platforms Nine and Ten.

Here's the first story NPR ever aired about Harry Potter — a wonderful piece by the late Margot Adler, from All Things Considered in 1998.

Some gems, from that bygone era:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN WILLIAMS SONG, "HEDWIG'S THEME")

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF CORDUROI'S "MY DEAR")

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Time now for The Call-In. It's wedding season. And today we're talking about love. We asked you for your stories, advice and questions.

JENNIFER INGHAM: Hi, NPR listeners. This is Jennifer Ingham.

In the novel The Windfall, a newly minted tech millionaire buys a big fancy house, a flashy car and leaves his middle-class life behind to rub elbows with the superrich. What follows is a delightful comedy of errors where he and his family navigate the unexpected pressures and pleasures of newfound wealth in modern India.

An Ancient Curse Awakens In 'The Suffering Tree'

Jun 25, 2017

A family curse, a resurrection, and a vengeful witch form the Southern Gothic backbone of The Suffering Tree.

Tori's family fractured when her father died and left them financially adrift, so it seems like a miracle when she, her mother, and her brother inherit an old house in rural Maryland. But they soon discover that the sprawling Slaughter family owns all the land surrounding theirs, and they still believe they have the right to Tori's new home.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, tennis great John McEnroe triumphed three times at Wimbledon and four times at the U.S. Open. But all his achievements on the court did not prepare him for life off of it. After his professional career ended, he dabbled as a talk show host and as an art collector and appeared in movies and TV shows.

While she was a primary care doctor in Oakland, Calif., Dr. Vanessa Grubbs fell in love with a man who had been living with kidney disease since he was a teenager.

In the seventh century B.C., the poet Semonides of Amorgos wrote a catalog of unmanageable women. First, there are the women who resemble pigs, "resting in filth and growing fat." Other women, he writes, are yapping dogs, who won't shut up even if you knock their teeth out. And then there are the lazy horses, slutty weasels and ugly apes with no necks. The only kind of woman he praises is the bee — industrious, devoted and, most importantly, fertile.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

"How do you cross the line? Step by step."

Internal monologue is a staple in cop books. There are rules, things you do and things you don't, and if the cop in your cop book can't talk to himself in his own head, how are the readers going to know that he's tortured? That he's a good man going bad (or a bad man going worse)? That he has hopes and dreams that extend beyond these streets and the barrel of this gun?

Radio Diaries: Special Offer

Jun 23, 2017

The picture on the back of my comic book looked so real.  World War II army soldiers were firing guns and running with bayonets.  Best of all, you could get a hundred for just one dollar!

I didn’t want them for myself but for my younger brother who loved playing “army.”  Bob had a few toy soldiers but he didn’t have a hundred!  I didn’t have a dollar either but I saved my allowance and finally had enough to mail in with the coupon.  When the package finally arrived, it looked pretty small for a hundred soldiers—and then I found out why.

Seventy-five years ago this month, a 13 year old girl in Amsterdam sat down and wrote the first entry in a red-checkered diary. Over the next two years, hundreds more pages followed as Anne Frank told about life in the "secret annex" where her family was hiding from the Nazis.

What Hath Jobs Wrought?

Jun 22, 2017

Think back ten years. If someone told you then that within the next decade, you would have a device that fits in your pocket, lets you play any song, watch any movie or take a really good photo, you might’ve believed them. But what if they told you that the same device would lead to thousands of car accidents every year? That the President of the United States would use the device to post messages accusing his predecessor of wiretapping him?

School’s out and summer is at hand. That means it’s time to make vacation plans.

Mission Point Press in Traverse City has your back.

They’re out with a true insiders’ guide to Northwest Michigan, including Traverse City, the surrounding area and Leelanau County.

Shades Of Gray Turn Sumptuous In 'Chain Letter'

Jun 22, 2017

It's nice to see Farel Dalrymple flying again. Pop Gun War, the serial comic he wrote back in the early 2000s, revolved around Sinclair, a young boy who got a pair of wings that let him soar through an urban dreamscape — a city known only as "The City." Though grungy and often sad, The City was full of quirky possibilities. A dwarf in a tux and top hat grew taller than the skyscrapers. A large, floating, bespectacled goldfish hung around. A lonely man labeled everything in his apartment, even his own pants, "because people don't always know what things are."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's ask why some of the nation's biggest energy companies say they're willing to support the fight against climate change. They say they are willing to be taxed for the pollution they create.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A sinewy, grayish, vaguely human thing sits on the ice cap somewhere in the Arctic, before plunging into the water below. That's when a very unfortunate whaling vessel arrives and harpoons a whale, setting the thing on a rampage. It won't take long for readers put the pieces together: The creature is the Monster — as in Frankenstein's monster — and his encounter with the whaling ship sets him on a mission to destroy, pitting him against the humanity that rejected him centuries ago.

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