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10 Minute Writer's Workshop

Updated about 4 hours ago

Arts
Society & Culture
Books
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A peek into how great writers conjure and craft their work. From creative rituals to guilty distractions, writers reveal what it really takes to get pen to paper.

Read more

A peek into how great writers conjure and craft their work. From creative rituals to guilty distractions, writers reveal what it really takes to get pen to paper.

iTunes Ratings

98 Ratings
Average Ratings
82
4
3
2
7

Thoughtful, informative, and as quick as promised!

By @slstalter on Twitter - Jan 11 2018
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I am a process junkie. I love hearing about how writer's write, and this podcast brings it.

Really Good

By Glassesgal - Nov 02 2017
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Very short, easy to listen to, great variety of authors. One of my favorites!

iTunes Ratings

98 Ratings
Average Ratings
82
4
3
2
7

Thoughtful, informative, and as quick as promised!

By @slstalter on Twitter - Jan 11 2018
Read more
I am a process junkie. I love hearing about how writer's write, and this podcast brings it.

Really Good

By Glassesgal - Nov 02 2017
Read more
Very short, easy to listen to, great variety of authors. One of my favorites!

Listen to:

Cover image of 10 Minute Writer's Workshop

10 Minute Writer's Workshop

Updated about 4 hours ago

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A peek into how great writers conjure and craft their work. From creative rituals to guilty distractions, writers reveal what it really takes to get pen to paper.

Workshop 14: Anatomical Historian Alice Dreger

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Alice Dreger is a historian of science, anatomy, and medicine, known for her work studying and advocating for people born with atypical sex disorders. She famously resigned from Northwestern University in protest of academic censorship, and gained some infamy on Twitter for live-tweeting her son's sex education class.

We had a delightful chat with her about her writing process in advance of the paperback release of her book, Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science.

Apr 06 2016

8mins

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Workshop 53: Celeste Ng

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Celeste Ng came out of the gate strong. Her first novel, Everything I Never Told You, was a New York Times bestseller and Amazon's #1 Best Book of 2014. Her latest, Little Fires Everywhere, continues her exploration of family dynamics and the effect of being included or excluded from belonging. She has said in the past that her stories begin with images, so we began by asking her where those images come from.

Episode Music by Cheetara

Sep 20 2017

12mins

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Workshop 13: Alexander Chee

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Alexander Chee is a careful craftsman of language. As we came to find out, when we talked to him from Argot Studios in NYC, he is as measured, unassuming and thoughtful in his speech. A retiring man, who prefers to write in transient spaces, he also just so happens to have penned the most hotly anticipated literary novel of 2016 - The Queen of the Night, a sophomore work fifteen years in the making*.

*He assures us it only took eleven or twelve.

Mar 23 2016

10mins

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Workshop 3: Patti Smith

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Virginia sits down with her idol, rocker and writer Patti Smith.

Nov 13 2015

10mins

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Workshop 35: Jonathan Lethem

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Jonathan Lethem is the best-selling author of Gun, with Occasional Music, Fortress of Solitude, and other novels, including the Naitonal Book Critics' Circle award-winning Motherless Brooklyn. He's known for reanimating and remixing genres - hard-boiled crime novels, post-apocalyptic science fiction, superhero comics and even technicolor westerns. His most recent novel is called A Gambler's Anatomy. It's about a high-stakes competitive backgammon player and con artist - a character who, like Lethem, was raised in the bohemian Brooklyn of the 1970s.

Episode music: "Crate Diggin" by Ari de Niro
Ad music: "Joy in the Restaurant" by David Szesztay

Jan 11 2017

11mins

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Workshop 52: Louise Penny

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Louise Penny was well into her forties when she published Still Life, the first in what has become the wildly popular Armand Gamache mystery series. The novels are set in Québec, where Gamache is Chief Inspector of the provincial police force. They are meticulously plotted, part police procedurals, part exploration of human nature - and the precarious balance between good and evil. Louise Penny is now out with the thirteenth in the series, Glass Houses.

Episode Music by Dana Boulé.

Sep 07 2017

11mins

Play

Workshop 37: Ottessa Moshfegh

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Ottessa Moshfegh says she writes to explore why people do weird things. The daughter of a Croatian mother and Iranian father, she was a serious piano student who knew she didn't want to be a pianist when she felt the call to write - and not just write, but be bold.

We spoke to her before her reading at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass.

Episode Music: Kevin MacLeod, "Trio for Piano, Violin and Viola"
Credit Music: Uncanny Valleys, "Curious or Disconcerting"

Feb 08 2017

10mins

Play

Workshop 48: Roxane Gay

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This episode, we speak to Roxane Gay, author, essayist, teacher, and all around-superwoman. The author of New York Times bestsellers Bad Feminist and Difficult Women, her latest, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, is a candid and personal account of life inside her body, of weight, trauma, and self-care. We spoke to Roxane by phone from her home. Episode music by Blue Dot SessionsAd music by Uncanny Valleys 

Jul 12 2017

9mins

Play

Workshop 42: Tana French

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Tana French is the Edgar Award-winning author of the Dublin Murder Squad series. The newest, called The Trespasser, is the sixth in the best-selling, habit-forming series. "It’s taken for granted that anybody who’s read one [Tana French novel] will very shortly have read them all,” wrote Laura Miller in the New Yorker.

French wrote her debut novel, In The Woods, in the long stretches between parts as a stage actress in Dublin. That theatrical training - understanding people from the inside out - may well be the edge that sets her books apart from other mysteries and police procedurals. The search for the killer becomes entangled with a search for the self, or as Miller put it, "in most crime fiction, the central mystery is who is the murderer? In French’s novels, it’s who is the detective?”

Music by Podington Bear
Ad music by Uncanny Valleys

Apr 19 2017

12mins

Play

Workshop 25: Kelly Link

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Kelly Link is one of a handful of writers to manage to be wondrous, fantastical and ominous at the same time. As Kirkus says, her work is “like Kafka hosting Saturday Night Live, mixing humor with existential dread.” Her most recent collection, Get in Trouble, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. She and her husband manage Small Beer Press.

Photo © 2014 Sharona Jacobs Photography

Aug 24 2016

10mins

Play

Workshop 4: Alexander McCall Smith

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The Scottish author, Alexander McCall Smith, lets us in on his writing process before an event recorded for radio in Portsmouth. The workshop was recorded backstage. #writing

Nov 25 2015

9mins

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Workshop 30: Jodi Picoult

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It’s our 30th episode, this time with the phenomenally successful Jodi Picoult.
Small Great Things is her 24th novel - and the ninth straight to debut at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. If Picoult has a "thing" it's writing about thorny ethical issues from the perspective of multiple characters...and a twisty ending! She's written in the voice of suicidal teens, rape victims, a school shooter…but until now, never as a black character and never directly confronting race, privilege and inequity - which most people avoid talking about. We caught up with her in the green room at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire before Writers on a New England Stage.

Music: “Many Hands” by Poddington Bear
Photo: David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

We are proud to be sponsored by Blue Apron. To receive a free week of meals, visit http://blueapron.com/10minute

Nov 02 2016

12mins

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Workshop 23: Judy Blume

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Anyone who's ever been an awkward adolescent knows that for decades now, dog-eared copies of Judy Blume's books have been passed around school playgrounds like secrets, or read under the covers after lights out. Her best known books - Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Deenie, Blubber, and Forever - offered young readers plain language and shame -free stories about periods, bullying, sexual urges and, even 'going all the way'.

Judy Blume finally tells her own story with In the Unlikely Event. It’s set in 1952, when three planes crashed into her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey. We sat down with her in the greenroom at the Music Hall in Portsmouth before a Writers on a New England Stage live event.

Jul 27 2016

9mins

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Workshop 24: Chuck Klosterman

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Essayist, novelist, columnist, sportswriter and former ethicist for the New York Times Magazine, Chuck Klosterman has got a wildly original voice. That makes sense for a guy who's written about glam metal bands in North Dakota, or whether you should hire a detective to trail your spouse. He's author of several best-sellers including Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs and most recently But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past.

Aug 10 2016

10mins

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Workshop 11: Uber YouTuber, Grace Helbig

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We spoke to YouTube superstar and writer of books Grace Helbig after the publication of her second tongue-in-cheek guide, Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It. She gave us a glimpse at her writing process backstage at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH before a Writers on a New England Stage event.

Feb 23 2016

7mins

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Workshop 18: Joe Hill

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As a writer, Joe Hill's family name gave him a leg up. Instead, he chose to create his own. We sat down with the best-selling author just before his appearance at Writers on a New England Stage at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH, where he was discussing his latest thriller, The Fireman.

May 18 2016

13mins

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Workshop 31: Colson Whitehead

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A National Book Award winner, Pulitzer-Prize nominee, Guggenheim fellow, and winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant, Colson Whitehead's new book, The Underground Railroad, was one of the most anticipated works of fiction this year. Virginia caught up with him backstage at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire before a reading with novelist Ben Winters hosted of Gibson’s Bookstore.

Nov 16 2016

9mins

Play

Workshop 5: The Beach Read Queen, Elin Hilderbrand

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We caught up with the NYT-best selling "Summer Beach Read Queen" Nantucket writer Elin Hilderbrand. The workshop was recorded backstage at the Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth, NH, before the Writers in the Loft series, where she was signing books. #writing

Dec 08 2015

8mins

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Workshop 39: Lindy West

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Lindy West, columnist for The Guardian, and author of How to be a Person and Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman. Lindy writes about feminism, social justice, body image, pop culture and, lately, politics.
She's a funny and original thinker, and brave. She's been a contributor on several memorable episodes of This American Life - one on "coming out" as fat, another about confronting an internet troll, one of hundreds who'd harassed her online.
She's got a bunch of balls in the air - TV and movie projects, an idea for a podcast - but we honed in on the demands of being a columnist.

Episode music by Ari de Niro
Ad music by Uncanny Valleys

Mar 08 2017

13mins

Play

Workshop 44: Anita Shreve

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Anita Shreve had a small, but devoted following as a literary author when her second novel, The Pilot's Wife was named an Oprah Book Club pick. The recognition propelled her into a New York Times bestselling novelist. Two days after her 18th novel, The Stars Are Fire, was released, she canceled her extensive book tour, later writing on her Facebook page that she would be undergoing chemotherapy.

This most recent novel uses wildfires that raged through coastal Maine in 1947 as the backdrop for the story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience.

Music by Tyler Gibbons
Ad Music by Uncanny Valleys

Find Anita Shreve on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/anitashreve/

May 17 2017

11mins

Play

Workshop 61: The Last Line

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After more than two years and 60 episodes, the 10 Minute Writer’s Workshop is signing off to make room for new projects and podcasts. Thanks to everybody who has listened and learned from the show. 

As we dream up our next undertaking, we want to hear from you aspiring writers and literature lovers out there. What sorts of things do you do to keep yourself creatively engaged? Are there exciting writerly events happening in your community? Do you lead a book club, or a writers workshop of your own? Let us know! You can reach us several ways:

Send us a message on Facebook: @10MWW

Twitter:  @10minutewriters

Or send an email to: wordofmouth@nhpr.org

We’re not sure what the future holds (creativity takes time, after all!) but to hear about upcoming projects involving Virginia Prescott, follow her @Verginger. 

Jan 31 2018

2mins

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Workshop 60: Manoush Zomorodi

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Some of you may know Manoush Zomorodi as host of the podcast Note to Self from WNYC. She is also, now, an author. Her book Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self came out of her own experience and curiosity about the creative process and confronting digital distractions - one of the biggest challenges for writers. She asked her audience to help her figure out what it would mean to let all of that go and to learn to shut down in order to build your creative juices up. Bored and Brilliant is the result, and it begins with an extreme case of writer’s block – what Manoush refers to as “a blankness.”

Episode music by Ryan Andersen

Follow us on Twitter @10MinuteWriters and find Manoush at @manoushz and @NoteToSelf

Dec 27 2017

12mins

Play

Workshop 59: Jennifer Egan

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Conventional, linear narratives are not really Jennifer Egan’s thing. She's a shape-shifter of fiction – jumping through time, space, voices and forms. She's written a graphic novel, a short story composed of tweets, and, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad, a kind of novel-as-concept album. Jennifer Egan takes on historical fiction in her newest novel, Manhattan Beach. We called her at her home in Brooklyn to ask about her process and how she begins her unpredictable novels.

Dec 13 2017

11mins

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Workshop 58: Welcome to Nightvale's Jeffrey Cranor & Joseph Fink

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Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink, co-creators of the phenomenally popular Welcome to Nightvale podcast, the “Nightvale Presents” series of podcasts, and New York Times bestselling co-authors of the new novel, It Devours, their second book set in the fictional world of Nightvale. We caught up with them at the 2017 Boston Book Festival. Episode Music by Disparition

Nov 29 2017

13mins

Play

Workshop 57: Dan Brown

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The blockbuster 2003 thriller The Da Vinci Code launched Dan Brown into the best-selling stratosphere. More than 200 million copies of his books have sold worldwide since. Three of his novels have been made into films starring tom hanks as fictional Harvard professor Robert Langdon. Brown is a disciplined writer, rising at 4am to a breakfast smoothie and "bulletproof" coffee, writing every day, and throwing himself into his research. He spent four years researching Origin, his latest novel, which again thrusts Langdon into a 24-hour scavenger hunt for keys, codes and symbols in spectacular European locations. The breathless action drives bigger questions about faith, conspiracies, and organized religion. The question of whether contemporary notions of god can withstand scientific scrutiny is at the heart of Origin. We caught up with him just before discussing the book at The Music Hall in Portsmouth for Writers on a New England Stage.

Music in this episode by Gregory W. Brown, used with permission by PARMA Recordings, and Podington Bear.

Nov 15 2017

11mins

Play

Workshop 56: Speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz

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For many writers, hitting their stride means finding their voice. Success for Sarah Hurwitz is in creating a voice for others. Sarah was candidate Hillary Clinton’s chief speechwriter during the 2006 Presidential primary, and was quickly snatched up by the Obama campaign team. She landed in the White House, soon being named First Lady Michelle Obama’s head speechwriter. We asked Sarah about her work and confirmed that she worked on that 2008 speech to the Democratic National Convention that was plagiarized by then candidate Trump's wife, Melania at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Nov 01 2017

11mins

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Workshop 55: Virginia Macgregor

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Virginia Macgregor, author most recently of Wishbones, has a knack for capturing the voices of children and young adults and projecting her novels through their lenses, giving us young narrators with accurate levels of experience and naivety - and a perspective not often found in adult literature. Our conversation with her centered around that: how she conjures the voices of young people, insures they are three-dimensional, and navigates those voices around complicated adult situations.

Episode music by Broke for Free

Oct 18 2017

11mins

Play

Workshop 54: Atul Gawande

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Atul Gawande is a surgeon, professor at Harvard Medical School, and writes about medicine and ethics for the New Yorker. He’s author of several best-selling books, most recently, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. The book questions the human cost of miraculous medicine, and urges a shift from the prevailing thought that human decline and death are signs of failures to instead think about how to make old age and the experience of dying better. Despite the grave topic, Gawande views it as a book about living. We spoke to him in the greenroom at The Music Hall in Portsmouth before a Writers on a New England Stage live event.

Episode music by Uncanny Valleys.

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Oct 06 2017

12mins

Play

Workshop 53: Celeste Ng

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Celeste Ng came out of the gate strong. Her first novel, Everything I Never Told You, was a New York Times bestseller and Amazon's #1 Best Book of 2014. Her latest, Little Fires Everywhere, continues her exploration of family dynamics and the effect of being included or excluded from belonging. She has said in the past that her stories begin with images, so we began by asking her where those images come from.

Episode Music by Cheetara

Sep 20 2017

12mins

Play

Workshop 52: Louise Penny

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Louise Penny was well into her forties when she published Still Life, the first in what has become the wildly popular Armand Gamache mystery series. The novels are set in Québec, where Gamache is Chief Inspector of the provincial police force. They are meticulously plotted, part police procedurals, part exploration of human nature - and the precarious balance between good and evil. Louise Penny is now out with the thirteenth in the series, Glass Houses.

Episode Music by Dana Boulé.

Sep 07 2017

11mins

Play

Workshop 51: Howard Axelrod

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Howard Axelrod was a junior at Harvard when an accident left him blind in one eye. The loss left him feeling shattered and isolated, eventually leading to a two-year stint living in the solitude of the Vermont woods. His memoir from that time is called The Point of Vanishing, named one of the best books of 2015 by Slate, The Chicago Tribune, and others. 

Aug 23 2017

11mins

Play

Workshop 50: Alice Fogel

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Alice Fogel is Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, and the author of six collections of poetry, including Interval: Poems Based on Bach's Goldberg Variations. Her most recent work is A Doubtful House

Episode Music by Little Glass Men

Aug 09 2017

8mins

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Workshop 49: Michael Cunningham

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Michael Cunningham is best known as the author of The Hours, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, which imagines a fateful day in the life of Virginia Woolf and its modern parallels. Nicole Kidman won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in a film adaptation of the book.

But he's a man of many genres - he's also co-written a screenplay, walked readers through Provincetown, Mass with a travelogue, and turned fairy tales on their heads, as he does in his recent collection of short fiction, A Wild Swan and Other Tales.

Episode Music by Blue Dot Sessions

Ad Music by Uncanny Valleys

Jul 26 2017

12mins

Play

Workshop 48: Roxane Gay

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This episode, we speak to Roxane Gay, author, essayist, teacher, and all around-superwoman. The author of New York Times bestsellers Bad Feminist and Difficult Women, her latest, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, is a candid and personal account of life inside her body, of weight, trauma, and self-care. We spoke to Roxane by phone from her home. Episode music by Blue Dot SessionsAd music by Uncanny Valleys 

Jul 12 2017

9mins

Play

Workshop 47: Jonathan Safran Foer

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Author, outspoken vegetarian, social media abstainer and writing teacher Jonathan Safran Foer is author of three novels: Everything Is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and, most recently, Here I Am, which follows four generations of a Jewish family grappling with identity, connection and disaster. His nonfiction book about factory farming, Eating Animals, was also a New York Times best-seller.

Episode music by Broke For Free
Ad music by Uncanny Valleys

Jun 28 2017

9mins

Play

Workshop 46: Ian Rankin

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Ian Rankin is best known for two characters: Inspector John Rebus, the protagonist of now 21 mystery novels, and the city of Edinburgh, whose dark corners come alive in Rankin’s hands. Rebus made his debut in the 1987 crime novel Knots & Crosses. In Rankin’s newest novel - Rather Be the Devil - a retired Rebus returns to a case that has haunted him for decades.

Episode music by Podington Bear
Ad music by Uncanny Valleys

Jun 14 2017

11mins

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Workshop 45: Krista Tippett

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Krista Tippett is probably best known as the host & creator of the public radio program On Being. But she's also the author of three books that pull from her decades of interviews with a broad variety of thinkers and seekers, exploring the intersections between spirituality, science, and living. The most recent is called Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery & Art of Living. We spoke to her backstage at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH before a Writers on a New England Stage event.

Music: Podington Bear - "Daydreamer"

May 31 2017

7mins

Play

Workshop 44: Anita Shreve

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Anita Shreve had a small, but devoted following as a literary author when her second novel, The Pilot's Wife was named an Oprah Book Club pick. The recognition propelled her into a New York Times bestselling novelist. Two days after her 18th novel, The Stars Are Fire, was released, she canceled her extensive book tour, later writing on her Facebook page that she would be undergoing chemotherapy.

This most recent novel uses wildfires that raged through coastal Maine in 1947 as the backdrop for the story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience.

Music by Tyler Gibbons
Ad Music by Uncanny Valleys

Find Anita Shreve on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/anitashreve/

May 17 2017

11mins

Play

Workshop 43: John Scalzi

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John Scalzi, the Hugo Award-winning author of science fiction both serious and less-so and an internet star from way, way back. He is former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, perhaps best known for his Old Man's War series, his blog “Whatever,” and his novel Redshirts, which is currently being developed for television. He joined us in the NHPR studios while on tour for The Collapsing Empire, the first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new universe.

May 03 2017

11mins

Play

Workshop 42: Tana French

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Tana French is the Edgar Award-winning author of the Dublin Murder Squad series. The newest, called The Trespasser, is the sixth in the best-selling, habit-forming series. "It’s taken for granted that anybody who’s read one [Tana French novel] will very shortly have read them all,” wrote Laura Miller in the New Yorker.

French wrote her debut novel, In The Woods, in the long stretches between parts as a stage actress in Dublin. That theatrical training - understanding people from the inside out - may well be the edge that sets her books apart from other mysteries and police procedurals. The search for the killer becomes entangled with a search for the self, or as Miller put it, "in most crime fiction, the central mystery is who is the murderer? In French’s novels, it’s who is the detective?”

Music by Podington Bear
Ad music by Uncanny Valleys

Apr 19 2017

12mins

Play