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.

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.

 

National Writers Series: An evening with Margaret Atwood

Sep 14, 2018

Margaret Atwood has written over 40 books spanning many genres, including poetry, essays, and fiction. Her latest books include “Hag-Seed,” which is a retelling of Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest,” and “Angel Catbird,” a graphic novel featuring a cat-bird superhero. Margaret starts off telling author and  National Writers Series co-founder Doug Stanton more about how she came to write “Angel Catbird.” This event was recorded at the Traverse City Opera House in October 2016.

 

Essay: Her Name

Sep 14, 2018

In college, I dated a guy named Hank who was a witty fellow with a gift for language. Although the romance didn’t last, some of his droll observations have lingered.


National Writers Series: An evening with Adriana Trigiani

Sep 13, 2018

Adriana Trigiani’s novels include The Shoemaker’s Wife and Big Stone Gap, which was made into a movie. Her latest novel is Kiss Carlo. Many of her books draw inspiration from her own family’s history and her Italian-American heritage. Adriana talks this hour with author and actor Benjamin Busch. She started the discussion by telling Ben about her family.

National Writers Series: An evening with Daniel Bergner

Sep 7, 2018

Daniel Bergner is the author of five books, including "In the Land of Magic Soldiers" and his latest, "Sing For Your Life," about African-American opera singer Ryan Speedo Green. He's also a journalist who writes for the New York Times Magazine and other publications. Bergner talks this hour with Interlochen Public Radio music host and producer Kate Botello. She asked Bergner how he first heard about Ryan Speedo Green.

National Writers Series: An evening with Murray Howe

Sep 7, 2018

Murray Howe is the youngest son of Gordie Howe, who spent 25 seasons playing for the Detroit Red Wings. Unlike his father and two older brothers, Murray Howe never worked as a professional athlete. Instead he became a doctor, practicing sports medicine. Murray Howe’s memoir is called “Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father.” He talks this hour with Ron Jolly, author and radio host for WTCM NewsTalk 580. Jolly asked Howe what it was like growing up in an athletic family.

Essay: Harder for Me

Sep 7, 2018

My daughter and I were at the kitchen table, discussing her eighth grade homework.

“It’s a stupid assignment,” Sara declared. “I’ll never pass this class.”

 


Essay: God's Begonia

Aug 31, 2018

I never expected to be doing missionary work, hampered as I am by doubt in the existence of God. It began when our book group met at a church and I discovered a gorgeous huge begonia in the hallway.


On this edition of Michigan Writers on the Air: Aaron Stander will talk with Mardi Link about the new edition of her true crime book, When Evil Came to Good Hart. Then Cari Noga will read from and give some background on her new novel, The Orphan Daughter. Finally, poet Fleda Brown will provide an audio essay about the life and work of the late Donald Hall. 

Essay: Carrying the Baggage

Aug 24, 2018

A friend is telling me about the new man in her life. “I really like the guy,” she says, “but I’m finding out he has a lot of baggage.” “We all do by this age,” I say.

Karen Anderson essay: Rain or Shine

Aug 17, 2018
Windborne Studios

As my husband and I set off for a hike along Lake Michigan, the sky is cloudy and the forecast unfavorable—but we are wearing rain jackets and sturdy boots.  So, when the showers begin we shrug and exchange a smile.

We enjoy being outdoors, rain or shine.  Today, we are remembering another downpour on this same beach when we took cover under some cottager’s deck.  Laughing and dripping, we waited out the worst of it and continued our walk.

Karen Anderson essay: Humility

Aug 10, 2018
Windborne Studios

Every morning I collect the newspaper from the front porch, feed the cat, and plug in a pot of coffee.  Then I go down in the basement to clean out my cat’s litter box.


Essay: Falling Out of Love

Aug 3, 2018

It was a bad time to fall out of love. For one thing, my husband and I were on vacation. For another, we were trapped in one small room of a bed and breakfast in Mallaig, Scotland, a room already crowded with furniture and figurines.

Mallaig was a fishing village across from the Isle of Skye, where we were headed the following day. “Isle of Skye” had sounded like a romantic destination until I found out that “skye” didn’t mean a vast expanse of blue overhead but was a Gaelic word for “mist.”

Essay: Espresso

Jul 27, 2018

Before our yoga class begins, another student comes up to me and whispers, “I just had a cup of hot chocolate with a shot of espresso!”  I don’t know Marcia well, but I give her a hug and we both giggle like school girls, unrolling our mats with a flourish of defiance.

Our yoga teacher routinely warns against stimulants like coffee and chocolate—which are bad for our bodies and especially bad for balancing poses.

National Writers Series: An evening with David Grann

Jul 26, 2018

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, about the murders of Osage Indians in the 1920s. David talks this hour with editor and publisher Lucas Wittmann. Lucas asked David to tell him more about his new book.

Megan Abbott has been writing crime fiction for more than a decade. With two major TV adaptations in the works, many in the industry are calling Abbott Hollywood’s next big novelist. Abbott grew up in the Detroit area before graduating from the University of Michigan and heading to New York University for her Ph.D in English and American Literature.

Essay: Elm

Jul 23, 2018

Every time I travel a certain highway south of Traverse City, I look for a single elm tree on the north side of the road. A glorious, healthy elm that stands out against the oaks and maples because of its graceful vase-like form and immense height.

Somehow, it survived the blight of Dutch elm disease that wiped its cousins off the map over fifty years ago in Michigan. Driving by that rare tree, I am filled with gratitude and respect.

One of the very best ways to enjoy summer in Michigan is to park yourself under a tree or on a beach and get lost in a good book.

Poet Keith Taylor joined Stateside to talk about some of his suggestions for your summer reading list.

Recently retired as a creative writing teacher at the University of Michigan, Taylor just published another book called Ecstatic Destinations about his Ann Arbor neighborhood.

Essay: Eating an Orange

Jul 13, 2018

I’m scraping the inside of an orange, not because there’s much pulp left but because my grandfather used to scrape his orange clean—each half like a little bowl with a white interior.  Suddenly he’s here with me at the table, sitting back in his chair to drink down the rest of his coffee, nodding at my glass of milk.

Essay: Dear Anyone

Jul 6, 2018

A recent widow is sorting through her late husband’s things and giving some away.  A book of poems comes to me called, appropriately enough, “Dear Anyone.”  It was written by William Keens, a poet I’ve never heard of.

The timing is good, however, because I feel kind of lost today and poetry is often a nourishing companion at such times.  So, I page through William Keens’ book—which is beautifully printed on handmade paper—and pick out this poem:

National Writers Series: An evening with Samantha Irby

Jun 29, 2018

Samantha Irby created the blog, “Bitches Gotta Eat.” Her debut collection of essays called “Meaty” was published in 2013. It’s being republished in connection with an upcoming TV series based on the book. Samantha’s latest book is “We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.” She talks this hour with author and storyteller Elon Cameron. Elon asked Samantha how she would describe “Meaty.”

Essay: Comb-Over

Jun 29, 2018

In a doctor’s waiting room the other day, I watched a tall man walk in, a good-looking man with gray hair and a carefully-tended comb-over. My first thought was to feel sorry for him, not that he was bald, but that he needed to hide his baldness.

But my next thought was that we all have comb-overs, every single one of us. We are all hiding some kind of defect—visible or invisible, real or imagined—that we work very hard every day to disguise.

Essay: Carrots

Jun 25, 2018

I am late getting home from class and my husband has already started supper. As we drink a beer at the kitchen table, I hear a lid rattling on the stove. “Should you turn the carrots down?” I ask, and Dick runs to turn off the burner.

Carrots are stuck to the bottom of the pan and I am reminded of another cooking experience. “When my mother started working full-time, she would ask me to get dinner ready,” I tell Dick. “Once, I was cooking green beans and burned them black.”

“What did she say?” he asks.

Essay: Bonnie's Cottage

Jun 21, 2018

Finally, Bonnie invites me to spend a week at her family cottage, the cottage she’s been telling me about all during eighth grade. Every day we will go swimming, she says, and sit on the dock and wait for boys to pick us up in their speedboats.

Now we’re here and Bonnie says the lake is too cold for swimming. And although we sit on the dock every day, no boys come by. As it turns out, the only invitation to ride in a speedboat comes from Bonnie’s dad on the last night of my visit.

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