National Writers Series

Interviews and IPR broadcasts of Traverse City's National Writers Series, founded by Interlochen alumnus and New York Times bestselling author Doug Stanton.

New episodes are aired as they become available on Fridays at 1 p.m. on IPR News Radio. 

National Writers Series: An evening with Tommy Tomlinson

Apr 15, 2019
Halle Meyers

Tommy Tomlinson spent 23 years as a reporter and columnist for the Charlotte Observer newspaper, and he’s written for publications including Esquire and Sports Illustrated. Since childhood, Tommy has struggled with obesity, and he decided to change his life by losing weight. He wrote about the process in his memoir, “The Elephant In the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America.” Tommy talks this hour with acupuncturist and storyteller Elon Cameron. Tommy told Elon that when he started writing his book, he weighed 460 pounds.

National Writers Series: An evening with Gillian Flynn

Jan 27, 2019
HJB Photo

Gillian Flynn is best known as the author of “Gone Girl.” She also wrote the screenplay of the film version. Since then, Gillian has written more for the big and small screen. She co-wrote the screenplay for the 2018 film “Widows,” as well as the TV adaptation of her book “Sharp Objects.” She also wrote the series “Utopia,” which will be released by Amazon this year. Doug Stanton spoke to Gillian at the Traverse City Opera House in April 2013. She told him she loved macabre stories since she was a child, when her father played her movies that were possibly inappropriate for her age.

National Writers Series: An evening with Harlan Coben

Jan 26, 2019

Harlan Coben has published over 30 novels. His book "Tell No One" was made into a film of the same name. In the past few years, Harlan’s created three TV shows available on Netflix: No Second Chance, The Five, and Safe. His latest novel “Run Away” will come out in March of this year. Doug Stanton spoke with Harlan on the stage of the Traverse City Opera House in July 2015. At that time, his book “The Stranger” had just come out. Doug asked Harlan to tell him about how he balances his work with his family life.  

National Writers Series: An evening with Greg Iles

Jan 26, 2019

Greg Iles is known for his Penn Cage series of thrillers that take place in Natchez, Mississippi. Iles’s newest book, coming out in March 2019, is “Cemetery Road.” It’s a stand-alone novel of friendship, betrayal, and secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi town. Doug Stanton talked with Greg Iles at the Traverse City Opera House in April 2017. At that time, his book “Mississippi Blood” had just been released.  It’s the third book in his Natchez Burning trilogy. Greg Iles began writing the trilogy while recovering from a traffic accident that almost killed him.

National Writers Series: An evening with Diana Gabaldon

Dec 9, 2018
Nancy Castaldo

Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling “Outlander” series of novels begins by telling the story of a young nurse during World War 2. She travels back in time to 18th century Scotland. Diana has published eight “Outlander” books, and she says her ninth one, called Go Tell the Bees that I Have Gone, should be released in 2019. The books have been developed into a popular TV show on Starz. Diana talks this hour with Deb Leonard, a member of the board of directors for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, and a bookseller at Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor.

National Writers Series: An evening with Benjamin Percy

Dec 9, 2018
National Writers Series

Benjamin Percy’s writing could be classified as genre fiction, but with a twist. His book Red Moon is about werewolves, but it’s also a commentary on the war on terror. And his newest novel, The Dark Net, is a techno-thriller that imagines the sordid corners of the Internet as full of actual demons. Benjamin talks this hour with his friend and fellow writer, Jeremy Chamberlin. Their conversation was recorded at the Traverse City Opera House in September 2013. Percy started the discussion talking about his appetite for books as a child. 

 

National Writers Series: An evening with John U. Bacon

Dec 8, 2018
Halle Meyers

John U. Bacon is a journalist, commentator and educator, and he’s written books on sports and business. His latest book tells the tale of a historical event that isn’t as well-known as it probably should be: the great Halifax Explosion. In 1917, a French ship carrying volatile explosives was hit by another ship in the harbor in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The resulting fire caused the ship to explode, which resulted in a disaster killing and injuring thousands.  John U.

National Writers Series: An evening with Richard Clarke

Dec 7, 2018
Halle Meyers

Over his long career in public service, Richard Clarke has been an adviser to presidents Reagan, Clinton, and both Bushes. His 2004 memoir Against All Enemies was critical of multiple administrations for their lax approach toward counter-terrorism before and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and of the Bush administration’s decision to wage war in Iraq. Richard has also written four fictional thrillers.

National Writers Series: An evening with Tayari Jones

Nov 11, 2018
Tom Haxby

Tayari Jones has written four novels, including Silver Sparrow and The Untelling. Her latest book, An American Marriage, is a love story challenged by racial injustice. Tayari talks this hour with fellow writer Aaron Stander, author of ten crime novels and host of Interlochen Public Radio’s “Michigan Writers on the Air.” Tayari starts by telling Aaron why she prefers writing her books on a typewriter.

National Writers Series: An evening with Amy Goldstein

Nov 10, 2018
Tom Haxby

Amy Goldstein is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and a long-time staff writer at the Washington Post. Her book Janesville: An American Story is about the city of Janesville, Wisconsin, whose General Motors plant closed during the Great Recession. Amy talks this hour with Shannon Henry Kleiber, a radio producer for To the Best of Our Knowledge from Wisconsin Public Radio and PRX. Shannon asked Amy to start off by reading from her book Janesville.

National Writers Series: An evening with Alice Walker

Nov 9, 2018
Tom Haxby

Alice Walker published her first book in 1968, making 2018 the 50th anniversary of her writing career. She’s authored dozens of works since then, including poetry, essays, short stories and novels. Alice won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel The Color Purple, becoming the first African American to receive that honor. Alice Walker is also known for her activism for human rights. Her latest book is a collection of poetry called Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart. Alice talks this hour with Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley.

National Writers Series: An evening with Joe Hill

Oct 21, 2018
Tom Haxby

Joe Hill was born with the name Joseph King: he’s the son of legendary author Stephen King. But Joe writes under the last name “Hill” out of a desire to succeed on his own merits. Now he’s recognized as one of today’s best horror writers.  Joe Hill’s novels include Heart-Shaped Box and The Fireman. His latest book is Strange Weather, which is made up of four short novels. Joe talks this hour with fellow author Loren Estleman, who is best known for a series of crime novels featuring the investigator Amos Walker.

National Writers Series: An evening with David Ebershoff

Oct 20, 2018

David Ebershoff’s novel The Danish Girl is about a Danish man named Einar Wegener who becomes one of the first people to seek out gender-altering surgery to become a woman, named Lili Elbe. The book was made into a movie in 2015. David talks this hour with writer David Griffith, who asked Ebershoff if he knew when he was writing The Danish Girl that it would interest the public so widely. This event was recorded at the Traverse City Opera House in May 2016. 

Tom Haxby

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician, scientist and professor. In 2015, she held a press conference to announce that children in Flint had dangerous levels of lead in their bodies. She documented how lead levels had doubled since the city's water source switched from the Detroit River to the Flint River the previous year. Since then, awareness of the city's water issues has spread across the world, and yet Flint is still struggling to provide safe water to its citizens. Dr. Mona talks this hour with WKAR station manager Peter Whorf.

National Writers Series: An evening with David Grann

Sep 28, 2018
Halle Meyers

David Grann is a New Yorker magazine staff writer and author of The Lost City of Z. His new book is called Killers of the Flower Moon. David talks this hour with editor and publisher Lucas Wittmann. 

 

National Writers Series: An evening with Eileen McNamara

Sep 28, 2018
Tom Haxby

Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the sister of President John F. Kennedy, and Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. Pulizer Prize-winning journalist Eileen McNamara worked at the Boston Globe for 30 years as a reporter and columnist. Her latest book is called “Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World.” Eileen talks this hour with Interlochen Public Radio reporter Morgan Springer. Morgan asked Eileen why she gets angry when people lump all the Kennedy sisters together. 

National Writers Series: An evening with Drew Philp

Sep 27, 2018
Tom Haxby

At age 23, Drew Philp moved to Detroit and bought a house for $500. He spent the next few years renovating it, living without heat or electricity. Drew wrote a book about his experience, called “A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City.” He talks this hour with WTCM NewsTalk 580 radio host Ron Jolly. Ron asked Drew where he grew up. 

 

Sebastian Junger is an author and documentary filmmaker. His book “The Perfect Storm” was made into a Hollywood movie. Sebastian’s latest book is “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging.” Sebastian Junger is joined by journalist Philip Caputo, who wrote the Vietnam memoir “A Rumor of War.” Philip and Sebastian talk with retired U.S. diplomat and political advisor Jack Segal. Jack asked Philip to start the discussion by reading from “A Rumor of War.” 

National Writers Series: An evening with Anna Quindlen

Sep 21, 2018
Tom Haxby

Anna Quindlen is a New York Times columnist and a prolific author of novels and nonfiction books. Her book “One True Thing” was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep. Quindlen’s latest novel is “Alternate Side,” about a New York City family whose idyllic life is shaken by a violent act on their quiet cul-de-sac. She talks this hour with Cynthia Canty, host of the Michigan Radio program Stateside. Cynthia asked what Anna wanted to be before she decided to become a writer. 

 

National Writers Series: An evening with Mary Roach

Sep 21, 2018
Halle Meyers

Mary Roach writes books about science that have a sense of humor. She’s written eight books, including “Stiff,” about human cadavers, and “Bonk,” about the science of sex. Roach’s latest book is “Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.” She talks this hour with actor and author Benjamin Busch. He asked Roach about her beginnings as an author, writing press releases for the San Francisco Zoo from a trailer next to the gorilla exhibit. 

 

National Writers Series: An evening with Beth Macy

Sep 20, 2018
Alan Newton

In one of Beth Macy’s previous books, Factory Man, she profiled a furniture maker in rural Virginia struggling to stay in business in an era of rising competition from Asia. In her latest book Dopesick, she returns to central Appalachia to explore the result of economic distress in these small towns: increasing drug addiction and overdose deaths, especially to OxyContin and heroin. Beth talks this hour with Interlochen Public Radio executive director Peter Payette.

National Writers Series: An evening with Richard Russo

Sep 14, 2018

Author Richard Russo’s novels include “Nobody’s Fool” and “Empire Falls.” His latest book is a collection of personal essays called “The Destiny Thief.” Richard talks this hour with actor and author Benjamin Busch. Benjamin asked Richard to explain how writers look at the world and translate it to the page.

 

National Writers Series: An evening with Jodi Picoult

Sep 14, 2018

Jodi Picoult has written ten New York Times number one bestsellers, including 2016’s “Small Great Things.” Her latest book is “A Spark of Light.” Jodi talks this hour with Detroit News columnist Neal Rubin, who asked her when she knew that writing would work out as a career. This event was recorded at the Traverse City Opera House in October 2016.

 

National Writers Series: An evening with Doug Stanton

Sep 14, 2018

National Writers Series co-founder Doug Stanton’s latest book is “The Odyssey of Echo Company: The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War.” He talks this hour with author and editor Colin Harrison, who edited Doug’s last two books. Colin asked Doug when he knew “The Odyssey of Echo Company” would become the next story he would tell. This event was recorded at the Traverse City Opera House in September 2017.

 

National Writers Series: An evening with David Maraniss

Sep 14, 2018

David Maraniss was born in Detroit and is now an associate editor at the Washington Post. He’s written biographies of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Vince Lombardi, and others. His newest book, “Once in a Great City,” traces the heyday of Detroit and its decline. He talks this hour with fellow journalist John U. Bacon. David starts out explaining more about how he decided to write “Once in a Great City.” This event was recorded at the Traverse City Opera House in October 2016.

 

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