national writers series

A grandmother in Senegal, Africa. Grandmothers all over the world are highlighted in author Paola Gianturco's new book, 'Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon.'
Paola Gianturco

Paola Gianturco travels all over the world, writing books about women and girls. About 10 years ago, she was in Kenya interviewing women for a book she was working on. For some small talk before each interview, she asked each woman how many children she had.

The first woman told Ginaturco she had three, and 10 adopted. The second told her she had 5, and 15 adopted. The next said she had four and 12 adopted. Gianturco says all the women she spoke with answered the same way.

“And I suddenly realized that what they were telling me was that they were raising their grandchildren,” she says. “They had adopted them when their own children had died of AIDS.”

National Writers Series: An evening with Jim and Lynn Kouf

Aug 18, 2016

Jim and Lynn Kouf have helped write and produce many Hollywood films, including Con Air, National Treasure, and Money Monster. Their most recent project together is the TV series “Grimm.” Jim and Lynn Kouf talk this hour with actor, writer, and director Benjamin Busch, who asked Jim how you get started as a writer in Hollywood.

National Writers Series: An evening with Lucy Kalanithi

Aug 17, 2016

When neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to write a memoir. He didn’t live to see his book “When Breath Becomes Air” published, but it turned into a New York Times number one bestseller.

His widow, Lucy Kalanithi, helped finish the book after Paul couldn’t continue. Doug Stanton talks this hour with Lucy Kalanithi.

National Writers Series: An evening with Brian Castner

Jul 14, 2016

Writer and veteran Brian Castner wanted to write about the war in Afghanistan, but he wasn’t able to get interviews with generals, politicians, or other high-profile figures. So he decided to write the book that only he could write. Brian Castner’s latest book, “All the Ways We Kill and Die,” is about his friend and Traverse City native Matthew Schwartz, who was killed by an explosive device in Afghanistan. The book is an investigation into finding the person who made the bomb that killed Schwartz. Castner talks this hour with actor, author, and fellow veteran Benjamin Busch.

National Writers Series: An evening with David Ebershoff

Jun 23, 2016

David Ebershoff's novel “The Danish Girl,” is based on the story of a real person, but it’s a fictional book. Ebershoff says he wrote it as fiction to take us inside the character’s heart. “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. David Ebershoff talks 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.

National Writers Series: An evening with Laurie R. King

Apr 26, 2016

Laurie R. King is best-known for her series of books based on Sherlock Holmes. She's the author of fourteen mysteries featuring her character Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes as crime-solving partners. She talked this hour with fellow author Cari Noga.

National Writers Series: An evening with James Tobin

Apr 8, 2016

James Tobin is a journalisthistorian, biographer, and professor. He’s written books about World War II journalist Ernie Pyle and aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright. Tobin’s latest work of narrative nonfiction is The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency.” He talked with former newspaper editor Bob Giles, who asked Tobin how he got the idea to write a book about Ernie Pyle.

Shannon Cason, a storyteller from Detroit, shares a personal narrative with the Front Street Writers on Thursday.
Anne Stanton

Tonight, The Moth Mainstage will be performed before a sold-out crowd in Traverse City. But yesterday, a few storytellers from The Moth did a workshop with a classroom of about 25 high school students. 

They talked about how storytelling builds community and helps people reflect on their own lives.

Shannon Cason is from Detroit. He says growing up, he always loved playing games. But, when he got older his love for games got him in trouble with gambling.

Bonnie Jo Campbell grew up in western Michigan, and her stories draw on her experiences with the dark side of rural life. Her latest collection of short stories is called “Mothers, Tell Your Daughters.” She talks this hour with poet, essayist, and undertaker Thomas Lynch. Campbell starts off the program talking about her book “American Salvage.”

National Writers Series: An evening with Susan Casey

Jan 14, 2016

Susan Casey is former editor-in-chief for O, the Oprah Magazine. She’s the author of three books: “The Devil’s Teeth,” about great white sharks, “The Wave,” about the people who surf and study giant waves, and her latest, “Voices In the Ocean: A Journey Into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins.”

National Writers Series: An evening with John U. Bacon

Dec 31, 2015

On this broadcast from the National Writers Series, John U. Bacon tells the story of meeting with legendary University of Michigan coach Bo Schembechler after writing an article about Michigan football. Bacon has covered sports for various newspapers and has written numerous books about University of Michigan athletics.

National Writers Series: An evening with Sarah Chayes

Dec 10, 2015

Sarah Chayes has worked as a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio and lived for a decade in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Her latest book is called “Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security.” Chayes grew up being interested in international affairs by having parents who were active in several presidential administrations. She talks this hour with Jack Segal, former diplomat and co-chair of Traverse City’s International Affairs Forum. Segal started off asking Chayes what it was like growing up with parents who were prominent in Washington politics.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh's first novel, The Language of Flowers, is about a foster child aging out of the system. Her second and latest book, We Never Asked for Wings, takes on immigration and education. Vanessa Diffenbaugh's books tackle big topics that highlight regular peoples' struggles and triumphs. Diffenbaugh talked to Sarah Bearup-Neal, a writer and artist from Glen Arbor.

National Writers Series: An evening with Hampton Sides

Oct 5, 2015

On this program from the National Writers Series, Hampton Sides explains why he's drawn to war. Sides is the author of "Ghost Soldiers, which tells the story of how U.S. soldiers rescued POWs from a Japanese prison camp in World War II. His latest book is called "In the Kingdom of Ice." It recounts the polar voyage of the USS Jeannette and the crew's battle for survival.

National Writers Series: An evening with Harlan Coben

Aug 6, 2015

Mystery and thriller writer Harlan Coben says a writer needs three things: inspiration, perspiration, and the most important, desperation. Harlan Coben's novels have debuted at the top of the New York Times bestseller list seven times. His book "Tell No One" was made into a French film of the same name. Coben's latest novel is "The Stranger." To start off the evening's event at the City Opera House, Traverse City mayor Michael Estes presented Harlan Coben with a key to the city. Doug Stanton began the conversation telling Coben he's had quite a year.

National Writers Series: An evening with Debbie Macomber

Jun 3, 2015

Debbie Macomber's "Cedar Cove" series has been turned into a TV show on the Hallmark Channel. She has more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide and her novels have spent over 750 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, with eight hitting number one. Macomber has also written bestselling cookbooks, inspirational and non-fiction works, and children's books. This hour she talks with Ron Hogan, acquiring fiction and nonfiction editor at Regan Arts.

Garth Stein's latest book, "A Sudden Light," begins from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy. Stein is fascinated with this stage of life at the edge of adulthood. His previous novel, "The Art of Racing in the Rain," has sold more than 4 million copies and spent three years on the New York Times bestseller list. He's interviewed by Sarah Bearup-Neal, a journalist and fiber artist from Glen Arbor.

Mystery Novelist - Tess Gerritsen

Feb 12, 2015

When mystery novelist Tess Gerritsen she was young, she had an experience that defined her writing. A neighbor she was close to was arrested for murdering his sister in law. She says that for her, crime writing is about trying to understand who the real person is behind the smiling mask. Tess Gerritsen is best known for her series of books featuring police detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, which inspired the TV series "Rizzoli and Isles." She talks with Traverse City teacher and Front Street Writers workshop leader Kerrey Woughter.

Brian Castner and Brian Turner

Dec 12, 2014

On this program from the National Writers Series, Benjamin Busch talks with Brian Castner and Brian Turner. Brian Castner's book, "The Long Walk," draws on his experience as the commander of an explosive disposal unit in Iraq. Poet and professor Brian Turner's memoir, "My Life As a Foreign Country," retraces his time at war, from pre-deployment, to combat, homecoming, and its aftermath. Castner and Turner talk with former U.S. Marine Corps officer and actor Benjamin Busch, author of the memoir "Dust to Dust."


"Shopaholic" author Sophie Kinsella

Dec 3, 2014
Allen Kent

On this program from the National Writers Series, Sophie Kinsella. She has written seven books in her "Shopaholic" series, as well as over a dozen other novels. Her first books were written under her actual name, Madeleine Wickham. Sophie Kinsella is her pen name. Christal Frost and Colleen Wares from radio station WTCM talk to Kinsella about her latest book, "Shopaholic to the Stars."


Mrs. Murphy mystery series author Rita Mae Brown

Nov 20, 2014
Allen Kent

Rita Mae Brown is the author of many novels, including the Mrs. Murphy mystery series, the Sister Jane foxhunting mysteries, and her classic first novel, Rubyfruit Jungle. She was also well-known in the 1960s as an activist for civil rights, gay rights, and feminism. She spoke with guest host Rich Fahle, Executive Producer of The Miami Book Fair International, and founder of Bibliostar.TV.


Nancy Horan: Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Oct 30, 2014
Allen Kent

On this program from the National Writers Series, Nancy Horan talks about her latest book, "Under the Wide and Starry Sky." It tells the improbable love story between Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and his American wife. Nancy Horan is the author of the 2007 bestseller "Loving Frank," which chronicles an obscure chapter in the life of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and his client, Mamah Borthwick Cheney. Her latest novel likewise tells the little-known story of Robert Louis Stevenson's life with his wife, Fanny Osbourne Stevenson.

Two authors focus on the Detroit Auto Industry

Oct 9, 2014

On this program from the National Writers Series, two authors whose latest books focus on the Detroit auto industry. Bryce Hoffman has spent two decades covering the auto industry for the Detroit News. His book is called "American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company." A. J. Baime is a journalist whose latest book is "Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War." It focuses on Ford’s B-24 bomber plant outside Detroit in Willow Run.

Diana Gabaldon's eight-book Outlander series has sold more than 20 million copies and has been published in 26 countries and 23 languages. A TV show based on the series premieres on Starz on August 9th. (The network has already released the first episolde online).

National Writers Series guest host and executive director of the Great Lakes Independent Book Sellers Association Deb Leonard talked with Diana Gabaldon for this special extended (and uncensored!) online-only edition of the National Writers Series.

Emily Giffin: Not Just 'Chick Lit'

Jul 10, 2014
Allen Kent

Emily Giffin has written seven novels that have been commonly described by critics as "chick lit," but Giffin takes exception to that characterization. Her novel "Something Borrowed" was made into a movie starring Kate Hudson and John Krasinski. Giffin's latest book, "The One and Only," debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list at number one for hardcover fiction. Guest host and journalist Stefanie Murray talks to Emily Giffin for this broadcast from the National Writers Series.


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