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Jonathan Lethem

48 Podcast Episodes

Latest 2 Feb 2023 | Updated Daily

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Jonathan Lethem Reads “Narrowing Valley”

The New Yorker: The Writer's Voice - New Fiction from The New Yorker

Jonathan Lethem reads his story “Narrowing Valley,” which appeared in the October 31, 2022, issue of the magazine. Lethem’s books of fiction include the story collection “Lucky Alan and Other Stories” and the novels “Motherless Brooklyn,” “The Feral Detective,” and, most recently, “The Arrest,” which was published in 2020. 


24 Oct 2022

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Jonathan Lethem (with Ann Beattie, Samuel Delany, Denis Johnson, and William Kennedy)

The Writers Institute

The novelist Jonathan Lethem listens here to recordings of his own New York State Writers Institute events over the past two decades. This propels conversation into wild places. It turns out that going into familiar moments—even listening to one’s own voice—can prompt discoveries. There’s a chance to find, as Lethem puts it, “worlds within the world.”William Kennedy describes a similar discovery here. Going back as a journalist to his hometown of Albany, NY, was “a revelation,” he says. The city that once bored him became, to the writer in search of stories, a place of proliferating character, of drama—a world full of worlds.You’ll hear in this episode the reward of applying mind to matter. Says Lethem: “We have tables and chairs and apples and cherries and shirts and pants and socks, but everything else seems to me pretty much up for grabs. Once you put subjectivity and consciousness in the mix, it all gets pretty strange.”On this episode:Jonathan Lethem (conversation with Adam Colman). Books: Motherless Brooklyn and The Arrest.Samuel Delany (from the archives). Books: Dhalgren and Nova.Ann Beattie (from the archives). Books: What Was Mine and Another You.Denis Johnson (from the archives). Books: Jesus' Son and Train Dreams.William Kennedy (conversation with Adam Colman). Books: Very Old Bones and The Flaming Corsage.Find out more about the New York State Writers Institute at https://www.nyswritersinstitute.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


4 Oct 2022

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Jonathan Lethem, Career Retrospective, 2016

KPFA - Radio Wolinsky

Jonathan Lethem: Live Career Retrospective, hosted by Richard Wolinsky.On March 3, 2016, Richard Wolinsky had a chance to sit down with author Jonathan Lethem in front of a Berkeley audience as a benefit for KPFA. Jonathan is the author of several novels, including Motherless Brooklyn, Fortress of Solitude, Chronic City and Dissident Gardens, along with short story collections and a book of essays, The Ecstasy of Influence. The event was intended as a career retrospective; the first 45 minutes devoted to prepared questions, followed by a period of questions from the audience, with follow-ups.Jonathan’s collection, Lucky Alan and Other Stories, had just come out in trade paperback.His next novel, A Gambler’s Anatomy was released October 16, 2016. Special thanks to Bob Baldock, who creates these events, and Jane Heaven, who records them. His most recent novels are The Feral Detective and The Arrest, the latter published in 2020.The post Jonathan Lethem, Career Retrospective, 2016 appeared first on KPFA.

2hr 17mins

31 Jul 2022

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Jonathan Lethem on Fair Use

The Vault

In April 2006, The Institute held a two day symposium about copyright and intellectual property, titled Comedies of Fair Use. At it, the novelist Jonathan Lethem made a presentation on his essay-in-progress, the final version of which would be published as The Ecstasy of Influence, in the February 2007 issue of Harper’s magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


10 Mar 2022

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Jonathan Lethem

Acts & Facts

Jonathan Lethem tells Richard about his eight talismanic books and also talks about obscure heroes, his love of the search, growing up in the era of New York's "dystopian abandonment," and what he learned from watching his father paint.

1hr 19mins

15 Jan 2022

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Episode 78: Jonathan Lethem & Stacie Williams

AWM Author Talks

This week, tune into a conversation between Jonathan Lethem, award-winning author of The Fortress of Solitude, and Stacie Williams, whose book Bizarro Worlds references Lethem’s characters and storylines to explore racism and gentrification. This conversation originally took place March 15th, 2019 and was recorded live at the American Writers Museum. We hope you enjoy entering the mind of a writer. AWM PODCAST NETWORK HOME


20 Dec 2021

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Book of Revelations: Rumaan Alam & Jonathan Lethem (Rebroadcast)

The Archive Project

In this episode, we feature a conversation between novelists Rumaan Alam and Jonathan Lethem from the 2020 Portland Book Festival. There is a rich tradition of the apocalyptic novel. As Alam and Lethem touch on, the urgency in this tradition allows writers to explore what really matters to their characters, and asks what we will keep and what we will forget when push comes to shove. The scope of these works range from, as Lethem says, “wide screen” narratives of entire societies being transformed, to the more intimate stories of how individuals, relationships, and families are shaped by these tragedies. The latter is the primary preoccupation of both these writers in their most recent novels. In Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind, which was a finalist for the Nation Book Award, a blackout on the Eastern seaboard forces two families together in an isolated rural house, cut off from the outside world. In award-winning author Jonathan Lethem’s The Arrest, two siblings find themselves in a world where most of what we take for granted—cars, computers, airplanes—have quit working and their lives are further upended by a man with a nuclear-powered super car. Rumaan Alam is the author of Rich and Pretty, That Kind of Mother, and Leave the World Behind. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Elle, New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, The Rumpus, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere. He studied at Oberlin College, and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Jonathan Lethem is the bestselling author of twelve novels, including The Feral Detective, The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Arrest is his twelfth novel.  He currently teaches creative writing at Pomona College in California.


25 Oct 2021

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Jonathan Lethem + Tift Merritt


During a live online performance, bestselling author Jonathan Lethem reads from his recent “dystopian pastoral” novel, The Arrest, about a farming community dealing with the worldwide collapse of technology. Jonathan also speaks about his long history of writing lyrics for bands including They Might Be Giants and the Silos. Songwriter Tift Merritt shares a studio recording of a song called “Asylum in a Mad, Mad World” that she wrote in response to the story, but also reflecting the history of a former asylum in her hometown.SongWriterPodcast.com/Jonathan-Lethem-Tift-MerrittTwitter.com/SnogWriterInstagram.com/SongWriterPodcastFacebook.com/SongWriterPodcast


21 Sep 2021

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show #306: jonathan lethem enters yet another world!

podcast – the drax files radio hour

jonathan lethem in the house, again, as yellow duck [as we find out the reason is hidden in plain sight of his story “forever, said the duck” from “the wall of the sky, the wall of the eye”]. we discuss “they live”, the great 80s movie by marxist scholar john carpenter, we find out about... Read More

10 May 2021

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Jonathan Lethem Reads “The Crooked House”

The New Yorker: The Writer's Voice - New Fiction from The New Yorker

Jonathan Lethem reads his story from the March 8, 2021, issue of the magazine. Lethem is the author of seventeen books of fiction, including the novels “Motherless Brooklyn,” “The Feral Detective,” and, most recently, “The Arrest,” which was published last year.


2 Mar 2021