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.

Essay: Being a Dog

Nov 30, 2018

When I was about eight years old, I decided I wanted to be a dog instead of a little girl.  I announced this to my parents and my father said, “Good for you.  That sounds interesting.”


Essay: School Bus Driver

Nov 16, 2018

When my daughter was in elementary school, we lived on a hill in the woods. The school bus picked her up at the bottom of the hill and in the afternoon I would watch for her to come home.

 


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.

Essay: To Last

Nov 9, 2018

The shoe repairman glances up as I walk into his tiny shop.

“I’m having my kitchen remodeled,” I say, “and when the guys pulled the cabinets off the walls, they found this in the rafters.” I haul a leather boot out of my backpack. “I’m hoping you can tell me something about it.”

 

Essay: Sleeping Habits

Nov 2, 2018

Long before I became a parent, I watched my brother-in-law and his wife with their newborn baby. One afternoon, while I was visiting, they placed their tiny son in his infant seat in front of the television while they watched football.

 

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.

Essay: Selling the Car

Oct 19, 2018

“It’s been very dependable,” my husband said of his Toyota truck. He was trading it in for another vehicle and had plenty of good reasons for this decision, logical reasons. But as he cleaned it out, we started remembering all the good times we’d had in that truck—camping trips, canoe trips. And we felt sad.

 


Essay: Sacred Cows

Oct 12, 2018

Just before our plane landed in Kathmandu, Nepal, we filled out a questionnaire about the purpose of our visit. I checked the box next to “Trekking” but I wanted to check “Pilgrimage.”


Author Loren Estleman will interview horror writer Joe Hill at the National Writers Series event at the City Opera House in Traverse City.
Deborah Morgan

When Traverse City author Doug Stanton met author Joe Hill at the Savannah Book Festival earlier this year, Stanton invited Hill to come talk about his new book "Strange Weather" at the National Writers Series.

 


Essay: Parental Support

Oct 5, 2018

My husband and I are traveling in the Upper Peninsula and stop at a state park for a picnic lunch. Walking across the parking lot, I glance down at the asphalt pavement and see a small turtle, maybe two inches long. Dick picks it up and turns it over. “Painted turtle,” he says. “I’ll put him back in the lake.”

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. 

Essay: Mystery Plant

Sep 28, 2018

Last fall, a book of my essays was published and I hosted a “launch party” to celebrate. It was a fun, informal gathering and I was pleased to greet many friends and colleagues. One of the guests brought me a tiny green plant as a gift.

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. 

 

Essay: Lunch with Grandpa

Sep 21, 2018

When my grandfather invited me to go out to lunch, it wasn’t anyplace fancy, just the Booth Dairy a few blocks away. Booth’s was mostly a place to buy milk and ice cream, but they also had a little lunch counter where you could order sandwiches. 

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.

 

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