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Library Talks

Join The New York Public Library and your favorite writers, artists, and thinkers for smart talks and provocative conversations from the nation’s cultural capital.

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Damien Echols on Hope & Death Row

This week, we’re excited to welcome Damien Echols, whose bestselling memoir “Life After Death” describes how he was falsely convicted of three murders and spent nearly eighteen years on death row. He’s joined by performer and activist Henry Rollins for a conversation about prison life, holding onto memories, and how to stay hopeful in the worst of times.

1hr 22mins

2 Jun 2015

Rank #1

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Neil Gaiman on Fairy Tales Revisited

This week on the podcast, Neil Gaiman, the beloved bestselling author of "Coraline," "American Gods," and "The Graveyard Book," joins us on Halloween night for some scary stories and thrilling conversation. He speaks about disobedient adults, why he learned to read, and his own reimagining of "Hansel and Gretel."

1hr 48mins

6 Nov 2014

Rank #2

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Michelle McNamara and Patton Oswalt's search for the Golden State Killer

The comedian and actor Patton Oswalt shares the posthumous true-crime masterpiece written by his wife Michelle McNamara, who died suddenly at the age of 46 in 2016. McNamara, a true crime reporter and creator of TrueCrimeDiary.com, spent years tracking a serial killer she dubbed the Golden State Killer. Between 1976 and 1986 he committed 50 sexual assaults and 10 murders up and down California. Oswalt wrote, “I can't help feeling that somewhere, in her final pages, she left enough clues for someone to finish the job she couldn't—to put California's worst serial killer behind bars.” Plus: a behind-the-scenes private tour of items from NYPL's true crime collections.


6 Mar 2018

Rank #3

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Karl Ove Knausgaard and Jeffrey Eugenides – "My Struggle"

On this episode of The New York Public Library Podcast, Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard dissects the latest volume of his critically acclaimed autobiography, My Struggle—and the controversy that surrounds it—with Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Virgin Suicides.

1hr 13mins

23 Jun 2014

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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Ta-Nehisi Coates on Theft, Atheism, & History

Recent Macarthur Genius Grant winner Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for “The Atlantic” whose latest book, “Between the World and Me,” is a nominee for the 2015 National Book Award. This fall, Coates sits down with Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, for a conversation on race, writing, and more.

1hr 36mins

20 Oct 2015

Rank #5

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Jay-Z on Hustling & Forgiveness

Grammy Award winning artist Jay-Z came to NYPL in 2010, when his long-awaited memoir, "Decoded," had just hit shelves. He’s joined by NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber and intellectual icon Cornel West for a conversation about his journey from a rough childhood to becoming an internationally renowned rap artist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur.

1hr 46mins

26 Feb 2015

Rank #6

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Chimamanda Adichie & Zadie Smith on Race, Writing, & Relationships

On the heels of the blockbuster success of her latest novel, “Americanah,” Adichie sat down with Smith at NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to discuss the critically acclaimed book and how it came to be. In their far-reaching conversation, Adichie and Smith talk about race, feminism, and finding one’s identity in a globalized world.

1hr 4mins

25 Aug 2015

Rank #7

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You Don't Know Nothing: Toni Morrison and Junot Díaz LIVE from the NYPL

LIVE closes the Fall 2013 season with a conversation between 2013 Library Lion Junot Diaz and the writer who most influenced him, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison. "I think the most sustained love of mine," Diaz has said, "the one that's carried me through all these years, is my relationship with Toni Morrison. Im telling you, I'm one of those people who's still cracking my head on many of the ideas Toni Morrison both suggested and elaborated on in her work." Witness a powerful event as Diaz comes face to face with his literary hero to celebrate her remarkable career.

1hr 22mins

6 Feb 2014

Rank #8

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Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin spoke with NY Times critic-at-large Wesley Morris about his recent memoir, "Nevertheless," at LIVE from the NYPL.

1hr 18mins

6 Jun 2017

Rank #9

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The Grand Budapest Hotel | Wes Anderson LIVE from the NYPL

Wes Anderson's vivid cinematic aesthetic and idiosyncratic characters make his films both immediately recognizable and endearing. Anderson returns to LIVE to explore his passions, influences, and his newest film The Grand Budapest Hotel, in conversation with Paul Holdengräber.

1hr 27mins

3 Mar 2014

Rank #10

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Patti Smith on Authors She Loves

Musician, writer and artist Patti Smith returns to the podcast this fall to discuss her new memoir “M Train,” a follow-up to her 2010 National Book Award-winning debut memoir, “Just Kids.” In a conversation with NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber, Smith talks about art, the city, and the experiences she’s gained during her prolific and eclectic career.

1hr 7mins

13 Oct 2015

Rank #11

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Helen Mirren on Women's Roles & Taking on Shakespeare

This week, we’re excited to welcome Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning actress Helen Mirren. Going back to her start with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Mirren’s career has been heavily influenced by the works of legendary poet and playwright William Shakespeare. In this conversation with NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber, to help mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Mirren reflects on the legacy of the prolific playwright and his impact on her life.

1hr 37mins

10 May 2016

Rank #12

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Neil Gaiman Reads "A Christmas Carol" (Rebroadcast)

To celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Dickens' classic, we're rebroadcasting this very special reading by writer and comic book author, Neil Gaiman. His live performance from 2013 uses a rare prompt copy that belonged to Charles Dickens himself and now resides in The New York Public Library. Dickens marked it up and annotated it for the express purpose of performing the story in front of an audience, which he did regularly in the 1850s and 1860s.

1hr 17mins

19 Dec 2018

Rank #13

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Darryl Pinckney & Zadie Smith on Achievement & Beyoncé

This week, we welcome two award-winning authors: American writer Darryl Pinckney and popular English novelist Zadie Smith. In this wide-ranging conversation, Pinckney and Smith talk about race, class, and Pinckney’s new novel, “Black Deutschland.”


15 Mar 2016

Rank #14

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Noam Chomsky and Wallace Shawn: Rigorous Rationality

MIT linguist, philosopher, and political theorist Noam Chomsky, in conversation with actor Wallace Shawn.

1hr 20mins

15 Aug 2017

Rank #15

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Chuck Palahniuk and Douglas Coupland: "Balls in the Air"

Chuck Palahniuk is best known as the author of the novels Fight Club and Choke. Douglas Coupland is the author of the international bestsellers Generation A and JPod. This week on The New York Public Library Podcast, the two take to the stage at LIVE from the NYPL for a literary conversation that doubles as a social experiment.

1hr 29mins

16 May 2014

Rank #16

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Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning

Kendi discussed his National Book Award–winning work on the history of racist ideas in America with Khalil Gibran Muhammad, the Director Emeritus of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

1hr 18mins

22 Aug 2017

Rank #17

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Michael Chabon and Richard Price on Plot, Secular Judaism, and Remembering to Make Stuff Up

Lying on your deathbed, how does the story of your life unfold? Michael Chabon's new novel, Moonglow, unfolds surrounded by this question, in a story both imagined and researched, fictionalized and biographical. Joined by author Richard Price, the two explore the story of Chabon’s own life, and the life of his stories.


27 Dec 2016

Rank #18

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Marilynne Robinson: Liberalism and American Tradition Pt. I

Marilynne Robinson is one of the most celebrated American writers—she won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was awarded a National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama, to name just a few of her accolades. She recently delivered a lecture on American Civilization and Government titled "Liberalism and American Tradition," which traces the origins of liberalism. Part two of the lecture will be released next week.


24 Feb 2019

Rank #19

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Ron Chernow: Grant

Ulysses S. Grant has for decades routinely listed as one of our worst presidents. Ron Chernow says the legacy of the Civil War hero and 18th president is deeply misunderstood, making the case in both his latest book and in this conversation with Richard Stengel, former managing editor of TIME magazine.


24 Oct 2017

Rank #20