Writers & Writing

This is your source for NPR author interviews, recent broadcasts from the Traverse City National Writers Series, and IPR's radio series Michigan Writers on the Air. You can also find NPR authors & interviews here.

Michael Paterniti says the greatest storyteller he ever met is a cheese maker in the small Spanish village of Guzman. Paterniti's latest book is called The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and World's Greatest Piece of Cheese. For a previous book, Paterniti ended up on a cross-country road trip with Albert Einstein's brain in the trunk of the car. His literary non-fiction has appeared in magazines such as Outside, Rolling Stone, and Esquire. He spoke with Doug Stanton at the Traverse City Opera House.

On the September Michigan Writers on the Air, we celebrate the life of Elmore Leonard by rebroadcasting an interview with Elmore and his son, Peter, first aired in June of 2009.

In the second segment of the program, Mary Elizabeth Pope reads from her sizzling new collection of short stories, Divining Venus.

In the final segment, Fleda Brown reads some of the engaging work of poet Maurice Manning.

Benjamin Percy’s critically acclaimed novel "Red Moon" began as a 6th grade report on werewolves.

"You know, I received a B-minus on this paper,” he told a crowd at the City Opera House in Traverse City. “Which is one of the many reasons it feels so good to say--you know, to hold this book in my hands and say, 'In your face, Mrs. Ziegenhagen!’" 

Temple Grandin says too many kids with autism are coddled, that teachers and parents sometimes don't realize what their kids are capable of.

"Half the people in Silicon Valley have got some degree of Asperger's," she says.

In this episode from the Traverse City National Writers Series: Temple Grandin talks about growing up in the 1950s with autism, and how she gained a foothold in a traditionally male field. She has revolutionized the slaughterhouse industry.

She's also a prolific writer. Her most recent book is "The Autistic Brain."

On the August Michigan Writers on the Air, Scott Craig reads from The Story Next Door, a book adapted from his radio series on Classical IPR. Then Ellen Stone talks about and reads from her prize-winning chapbook, The Solid Living World. At the end Fleda Brown provides a commentary on contemporary American poet Thomas Lux.

Jason Matthews worked as an intelligence officer in the CIA for 33 years. Now retired, he's the author of a novel called "Red Sparrow," a fast paced spy thriller that draws on his life with the agency. Matthews was a guest this May at the National Writers Series in downtown Traverse City. NWS founder and New York Times bestseller Doug Stanton sat down with Matthews to talk about his debut novel and the exciting life of intrigue that led up to it.

Nathaniel Philbrick is a renowned scholar and a champion sailor who has a passion for history and the open water. He's the bestselling author of books such as "In the Heart of the Sea" and "Mayflower." Philbrick was a guest this May at the National Writers Series in downtown Traverse City. He sat down with Rich Fahle to talk about his latest book "Bunker Hill," about the Boston battle that ignited the American revolution.

Nathaniel Philbrick is a renowned scholar and a champion sailor who has a passion for history and the open water. He's the bestselling author of books such as "In the Heart of the Sea" and "Mayflower." Philbrick was a guest this May at the National Writers Series in downtown Traverse City. He sat down with Rich Fahle to talk about his latest book "Bunker Hill," about the Boston battle that ignited the American revolution.

On the June Michigan Writers on the Air, Elizabeth Buzzelli will talk about her new mystery, Dead Little Dolly, and National Book Award winner Gloria Whelan will read from her new collection of short stories, Living Together. At the end, Fleda Brown will provide a commentary on poet Patricia Clark. 

Author Mardi Jo Link says she an unlikely memoirist. She’s not a celebrity, she didn’t climb a mountain, and yet a major New York publisher has just released 50,000 copies of her book.

Holding On To Her Home
The Big Valley, that’s what Mardi Jo Link calls her farmhouse and property in Grand Traverse County. It’s where she raised her three boys.

On the May Michigan Writers on the Air, a single parent battles to preserve her family's way of life on her Traverse City-area farm. Mardi Jo Link talks about her forthcoming memoir, Bootstrapper. This book isn't out yet but it's expected to get hype from booksellers across the nation.   Poet, river guide, and writing teacher, Chris Dombrowski, reads from his new book, Earth Again.  Matthew Wiliford, Director of the Interlochen College of Creative Arts, outlines this summer’s workshops for adult writers.

Gillian Flynn started as a film critic at the age of 7 when her father showed her movies like Alien and Psycho. As an adult, and after writing for 10 years as a television critic, she was laid off. She began a new career writing her first novel in 2007 titled Sharp Objects. Flynn was a guest this month at the National Writers Series in downtown Traverse City. She sat down with host Doug Stanton to talk about her new book Gone Girl

This month on Michigan Writers on the Air, two distinguished poets, our own Fleda Brown and Vermont’s Poet Laureate, Sydney Lea, will read from their newly published collaboration, Growing Old in Poetry: Two Poets, Two Lives.

The Story Of An Escape From North Korea

Apr 9, 2013

Shin Dong-Hyuk escaped from a North Korean labor camp. A camp where he expected to die young. Blain Harden tells the story about Shin’s escape in his most recent book, Escape from Camp 14. He was the guest earlier this month at the National Writers Series in downtown Traverse City. He spoke with Jack Segal, a former U.S. Department of State official. 

Today on the National Writers Series, host Doug Stanton sits down with Chip Johannessen. Johannessen is the executive producer and writer of Showtime’s award-winning television show “Homeland”. And this past year, “Homeland” made television history when it did something no other show has done in 25 years: it won four out of five of the major drama awards at the Emmys.

On the March Michigan Writers on the Air program, Traverse City based writer Cari Noga will read from her stunning debut novel, Sparrow Migration. Then Aaron Stander will having a phone conversation with writing guru, Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones. They will be talking about her newest book,The True Secret of Writing. At the end, poet and essayist Fleda Brown will provide a commentary on contemporary American poet Connie Wanek.

On the February Michigan Writers on the Air program, outdoors and adventure writer Joan Young will be talking about and reading from her book, North Country Cache. Then three well-known members of the northern Michigan arts community, Jerry Dennis, Glenn Wolff, and Chad Pastotnik, will discuss their collaborative project, A Trout in Winter. At the end, poet and essayist Fleda Brown will provide a commentary on contemporary American poet Dzvinia Orlowsky.

Buzz Bissinger’s bestseller Friday Night Lights became a hit TV series. Now he has a new book. It’s called Father’s Day. It tells the true story of the author’s twin sons – one who earned his Master’s Degree – the other who struggles with unremitting learning disabilities to this day. Buzz Bissinger is visiting Traverse City for the National Writers Series and he’ll be our guest on Points North.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Jan 8, 2013

Today on the National Writers Series, columnist and author Jack Segal sits down with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ali is an admired activist and political figure whom, in 2005, was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the World.

Michael Connelly

Jan 7, 2013

Today on the National Writers Series, host Bryan Gruley talks with Michael Connelly, a #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author. Connelly has sold over 45 million copies of his novels. He can be seen playing himself on the ABC television show Castle.

New York Times bestselling Author Maggie Stiefvater brought a new audience to the Natinal Writers Series at the first young adult author to appear on the City Opera House stage.  <span>Bookends blogger and young adult reviewer Lynn Rutan guest hosted the conversation with Stiefvater, who offered an energetic and entertaining look into her career as a young adult novelist.

This month on Michigan Writers on the Air, Aaron Stander interviews Heather Shumaker, author of It’s Okay Not to Share…and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids. Then Bill O. Smith will read from his popular new children’s book, Chickadees at Night. At the end Fleda Brown will provide a commentary on contemporary American poet Alicia Ostriker.

This month on Michigan Writers on the Air, Aaron Stander talks with Dr. Jason Karlawish about his new work of historical fiction, Open Wound, The Tragic Obsession of Dr. William Beaumont. Then Keith Taylor will read from his chapbook, Marginalia for a Natural History. At the end Fleda Brown will provide a commentary on West Coast poet Catherine Flenniken.

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