Rank #1: Toni Morrison and Angela Davis on Connecting for Progress
We’re kicking off Black History Month with Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, who came to NYPL in 2010 for a conversation with activist and author Angela Davis. In this wide-ranging talk, Morrison and Davis discuss Frederick Douglass, education, and liberation.
Rank #2: 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.
Rank #3: 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.
Rank #4: Neil Gaiman Reads "A Christmas Carol" (Rebroadcast)
This week we’re rebroadcasting one of our favorite episodes: acclaimed author Neil Gaiman delivering a memorable reading of A Christmas Carol. You’ll hear Gaiman reading from the Library’s own rare copy, which includes edits and prompts Charles Dickens wrote in his own hand for his unique readings 150 years ago. Joined by writer and BBC researcher Molly Oldfield, Gaiman’s reading of the classic tale as the great author intended has become a New York Public Library tradition.
Rank #5: 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.
Rank #6: 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."
Rank #7: 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.
Rank #8: Joan Didion on Writing & Revising
The beloved writer talks to fellow bestselling author Sloane Crosley about the challenges of putting personal tragedy and illusory pleasure into words.
Rank #9: Stonewall 50: The Sound of Memory
The Stonewall Riots were a flash point in LGBTQ history. After the riots that took place at the Stonewall Inn in June 1969, the LGBTQ civil rights movement went from handfuls of pioneering activists to a national movement mobilizing thousands.
On this special episode we’ll hear what happened over the nights of the riots through archival audio of iconic transgender rights activists Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. NYPL's Jason Baumann returns for an interview with pioneering photojournalist and gay rights activist Kay Tobin Lahusen. Plus stories from Eric Marcus' podcast Making Gay History, and the story of Stormé DeLarverie from the archives at The Schomburg Center.
Rank #10: 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.
Rank #11: Noam Chomsky and Wallace Shawn: Rigorous Rationality
MIT linguist, philosopher, and political theorist Noam Chomsky, in conversation with actor Wallace Shawn.
Rank #12: Robert A. Caro & Frank Rich on Power & Corruption
We’re bringing you a special talk with Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Robert Caro, whose book “The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York” was hailed by Time magazine as one of the hundred top nonfiction books of all time, and is considered one of the most revealing biographies of the 20th century. In this conversation with essayist and columnist Frank Rich, Caro talks about power, corruption, and the men who shaped the urban landscape of modern-day New York City.
Rank #13: Sliding Off the Couch with George Saunders
Until recently, George Saunders was best known for his short stories and essays. Then his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, won the 2017 Man Booker Prize. Saunders spoke with Paul Holdengräber about the book as well as the broader arc of his life and career, covering everything from comedy to fathers to Buddhism to reporting on Trump rallies.
Rank #14: 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.
Rank #15: Journalism in the Age of Trump
This year, the New York Public Library will, for the thirtieth year, dispense the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. In the first in a series of events to celebrate the award, we welcomed Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of The New York Times; Shawna Thomas, DC Bureau Chief of VICE News; Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder of Define American; Jacob Weisberg, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Slate Group; and Bill Moyers, Managing Editor of BillMoyers.com to discuss the shifting responsibilities, obligations, purposes, and even definitions of American journalism today. For this week's episode of the New York Public Library Podcast, we're proud to present this conversation on the press during the administration of the forty-fifth president.
Rank #16: There's No Such Thing As Now
Carlo Rovelli is an Italian theoretical physicist. In his new book, The Order of Time, Rovelli asks "Why do we remember the past and not the future…What ties time to our nature as persons, to our subjectivity?" Rovelli is the head of the Quantum Gravity group at the Centre de Physique Théorique of Aix-Marseille University and has devoted his life's work to understanding what time might truly be. Author and philosopher, Jim Holt spoke with Rovelli about the past, future, and why there isn't exactly a "now."
Rank #17: Margaret Atwood on Shakespeare in the 21st Century and on YouTube
Four hundred years after William Shakespeare’s death, Margaret Atwood retells one of his most beloved plays, The Tempest, with a dark and fantastical interpretation in her new book, Hag-Seed. This week on the podcast, Atwood is joined in conversation by celebrated actress Fiona Shaw for a discussion of the Bard and his influence on their work.
Rank #18: Zora Neale Hurston's Story of the Last Slave Ship Survivor
Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” is one of Zora Neale Hurston’s most important works of non-fiction that has never been published until today. Hurston recorded the story in Alabama in the late 1920s. It's a collection of interviews with a man named Kossola, also known as Cudjo Lewis, one of the last known living survivors of the Atlantic slave trade. To discuss the book's history and Hurston's legacy, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture welcomed Dr. Cheryl Sterling, Director of the Black Studies Program at City College of New York, to moderate a conversation featring: Hurston scholar and editor of Barracoon, Deborah G. Plant; founder of book club Well-Read Black Girl, Glory Edim; and Dr. Sylviane Diouf, an award-winning author and historian of the African Diaspora.
Rank #19: 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.
Rank #20: Neil Gaiman Reads "A Christmas Carol"
Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman performs a memorable dramatic reading from the Library’s own rare copy of "A Christmas Carol," which includes edits and prompts Charles Dickens wrote in his own hand for his unique public readings 150 years ago. Dressed in full costume and joined by writer and BBC researcher Molly Oldfield, Gaiman performs the classic tale as its great author intended.