Writers & Writing

Author interviews, poetry and storytelling.

Protests against police brutality and gun violence continue in Kenosha, Wis., following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Meanwhile, a 17-year-old is facing murder charges for allegedly shooting and killing two protesters in the city on Tuesday night.

On Saturday, a man in Portland was fatally shot as a pro-Trump caravan traveled through the city, clashing with counter protesters.

Gifty tells first dates her job is to get mice hooked on cocaine. She's joking — she actually gets mice addicted to a nutrition drink, which is cheaper. Her mother, from Ghana, lives with her, but mostly under the covers.

Punching the Air is a novel in verse about a 16-year-old boy, Amal, with a budding artistic talent and promising future, who is put away in prison for throwing a punch. But in a way, was he put away before that, by an uncaring and prejudiced system?

Yusef Salaam, who has become a noted educator and activist after spending more than six years in prison for his wrongful conviction in what was known as the Central Park jogger case, wrote the book with author Ibi Zoboi.

If you're of a certain temperament, it's tempting to think that the only people who aren't going to lose hope in the world by the end of the year are the people who lost hope in the world long ago.

The pandemics of coronavirus and hate show no signs of abating, and it's becoming increasingly obvious that we'll be unable to repair the damage we've done to our environment. For many of us, 2020 is the ultimate year of despair.

This story was updated on Sept. 1, 2020. The original version of this story, which is an interview with an author who holds strong political views and ideas, did not provide readers enough context for them to fully assess some of the controversial opinions discussed.

I was 12- or 13-years-old when an uncle gave me a copy of Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World. It was long and full of ideas that were new to me, so I spent the summer with my head in and out of that book.

It opened the door to philosophy, and I crossed the threshold because it was fun — it spoke to me. That love for philosophy lasted until I got to college. Nothing kills the love for philosophy faster than people who think they understand Foucault, Baudrillard, or Kierkegaard better than you — and then try to explain them.

Okay, sit still. I have a lot of things to say about Maria Dahvana Headley's new book, Beowulf, and I'm gonna try to say them all right now.

In recent years, the image of the American suffragist has been evoked by women in Congress wearing white.

But the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment has been an opportunity for some to take a closer look at the stories of the women of the movement — the ones we think we already know, and the ones that have been lost to history.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies.

If terrorists poisoned most of the water U.S. citizens consume, the event would take over the news cycle and it would be the only thing we'd talk about until the situation was fixed.

Well, the water is being poisoned — except it isn't coming from terrorists; it's being done by a variety of factories, companies, and processing plants.

So why are they not constantly on the news?

"Does September make you do things you don't want to do?" a teacher asks July of her older sister in Daisy Johnson's chilly little sliver of a novel, Sisters. "And I said no no no no but underneath the no there was a maybe ..."

When the book opens, July, September, and their mother Sheela are living by the Yorkshire coast in a "rankled, bentouttashape, dirtyallover" house "only just out of the sea." They are in exile after an unexplained accident at school: "[S]omething happened that day at the tennis courts. Something happened we cannot remember."

When civil rights activist and U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia died last month, so did a big piece of America.

CNN correspondent Brian Stelter says President Trump's "cozy" relationship with Fox News is "like nothing we've seen in American history."

In his new book, Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, Stelter describes the president as a "shadow producer" to Fox News host Sean Hannity — who, in turn, acts as a "shadow chief of staff" for Trump.

Deep into Summer, the fourth installment of Ali Smith's highly topical seasonal quartet, the author slyly inserts a charged question: "Should the Artist Portray His Own Age?" It's the subject of a debate that takes place at an internment camp for British "enemy aliens" on the Isle of Man during World War II — which speaks not just to the erudition of the detainees but also to the audacious literary mission Smith set for herself five years ago: To write four novels that weigh in on current events as they unfold.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Author Interview: 'True Or False'

Aug 23, 2020

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Writer Nnedi Okorafor was born and raised in the U.S., but she says her immigrant parents were always talking about Nigeria. "We had the American experience, but they also didn't leave home behind ..." Okorafor says. Nigeria "didn't feel like a place of the past. It felt like a place of the now and the future."

Books that make me cringe are usually bad. You know, books where suspension of disbelief refuses to stay even if you hold it at gunpoint, stories of whitewashed cities where everyone is beautiful, stories with dialogue so eloquent it sounds like Martin Luther King, Jr. debating Pericles. Luckily, sometimes a book comes along that makes me cringe for all the right reasons. Raven Leilani's Luster belongs to this select group.

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A genuinely funny and charismatic heroine shines in Loathe At First Sight, the delightful and eye-opening debut adult novel by Suzanne Park.

Don't be fooled; the story isn't the trope-laden tale you might expect from the title. Sure, several characters speed onto the enemy lane. Still, Park — a former stand-up comedian — negotiates her energized plot masterfully, with an engaging main character who doesn't hold back when faced with a sexist boss, an Internet stalker, or a belligerent officemate.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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In a romance novel, a heroine's gotta do what a heroine's gotta do — no matter who's trying to stop her. And in romance, the love interest (be they hero or heroine) will always be her champion, defender and helpmeet. These three delectable new historical romance novels show that love is more than sex and sparks (though there is plenty of that), it's also about finding the one who will stand up beside you, no matter what troubles may buzz your way.