American Literature

The Tulsa Library Trust's Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature, inaugurated in 1991, aims to "give formal recognition, on behalf of the Tulsa County community, to nationally acclaimed authors who have made a significant contribution to the field of literature for children and young adults." Past winners of the Zarrow Award include Jim Murphy, Jacqueline Woodson, Jane Yolen, Gary Paulsen, Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L'Engle, and S.E. Hinton -- and this year, the highly deserving recipient of this award is Jack Gantos.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Jayne Anne Phillips, the acclaimed fiction writer whose previous books include "Black Tickets," "Machine Dreams," and "Lark and Termite." In her newest book, just out in paperback, Phillips both explores and re-imagines a real crime that occurred in 1931, in a West Virginia town not far from where she herself grew up. Phillips tells us of this novel -- called "Quiet Dell" -- on today's program.

Illustration Credit: NPR

On this installment of ST, we welcome back Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer. Nancy is a former librarian --- and former Tulsan --- who's also a bestselling author, editor, critic, and book advocate. She's also the former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library. She can be heard on NPR's Morning Edition, where she regularly offers good-reading tips, and her wide-ranging, well-researched recommendations have also been collected into the ongoing and highly popular "Book Lust" series of volumes.

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with Donis Casey, a mystery author and former librarian who is originally from Oklahoma and has been based in Arizona for many years. "Hell with the Lid Blown Off" -- the seventh title in Casey's popular Alafair Tucker series -- is newly available, and (as with the rest of Casey's fiction) this novel draws heavily upon her Oklahoma well as the roots of her Sooner State relatives.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Kevin Brockmeier, the Little Rock-based, widely acclaimed fiction writer whose books include the novels "The Illumination" and "The Brief History of the Dead" as well as the story collections "Things That Fall from the Sky" and "The View from the Seventh Layer." His newest book, just out, is an autobiography called "A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade" --- and it's been praised by Entertainment Weekly as "a funny, poignant oddity....

On this edition of ST, we listen back to a great conversation we had last year with Kate Christensen, the award-winning author of several novels as well as a memoir --- "Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites" --- which is just out in paperback. Christensen will be reading from and signing copies of this book tonight (Tuesday the 6th) at a Book Smart Tulsa eevent at Pohlenz Cucine Moderne (at 3402 South Peoria); this event is free to the public and begins at 7pm.

From Sherwin Nuland and Abraham Verghese to William Carlos Williams and Robert Coles --- from Siddhartha Mukherjee to Atul Gawande --- there's a long and noble tradition in American writing of gifted authors and journalists who also work professionally as physicians. On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, we hear from such a writer, Dr. John Elefteriades, who's the Glenn Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Director of the Aortic Institute at Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital. Dr.

Today, we welcome Quraysh Ali Lansana back to StudioTulsa. Lansana was born Ron Myles in Enid, Oklahoma, and originally worked in broadcast journalism here in our state before studying poetry and literature in New York and Chicago. He's written several books of poetry, edited or co-edited several anthologies, and works as an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Chicago State University. He also teaches at writing workshops and literary events all over the country.

"Love and Treasure: A Novel"

Apr 23, 2014

On this installment of ST, we're pleased to speak with Ayelet Waldman, the well-known novelist and essayist whose previous books include "Red Hook Road," "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits," "Daughter's Keeper," and "Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes." Waldman tells us about her newest book, a novel called "Love and Treasure." It's been getting some rave reviews lately --- The Washington Post called it "absorbing [and] moving [and] a marvelous panorama of early-20th-century attitudes about women" --- and it was thus summarized in Booklist: "Classics scholar Jack Wiseman, in the la

On this edition of ST, we speak with Rebecca Miller, the acclaimed screenwriter, author, and filmmaker, who'll appear tonight (Thursday the 17th) at 7pm at a free-to-the-public Book Smart Tulsa event at the Circle Cinema. At this gathering, she'll be reading from and signing copies of her latest novel, "Jacob's Folly," which is just out in paperback; she'll also deliver an introduction before a screening of her 2009 film, "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" (which she adapted from her novel of the same title).

On this installment of ST, we are pleased to speak once again with the author, critic, former librarian, and die-hard book-lover Nancy Pearl, who's well-known for her frequent appearances on NPR's Morning Edition, her tireless championing of old or out-of-print titles, and her "Book Lust" series of books about books. Nancy used to live in Tulsa, and she's been the book reviewer for this program for 20+ years --- indeed, while she usually joins us by phone from her home in Seattle, this time around, Nancy is with us in the studio.

The "Collected Poems" of Ron Padgett

Apr 1, 2014

On this installment of ST, we are pleased to welcome Ron Padgett back to our show. This Tulsa-born, New York-based poet, translator, and editor published his "Collected Poems" last fall, and he'll be reading from that book at 7pm tonight (Tuesday the 1st) at the AHHA / Hardesty Arts Center in downtown Tulsa; this event is co-presented by Book Smart Tulsa, Louder Than A Bomb: Tulsa, and This Land Press, and it's free to the public.

We speak by phone today with Blake Bailey, who grew up in Oklahoma City, now teaches creative writing in Virginia, and is the author of three highly regarded literary biographies (of Richard Yates, John Cheever, and Charles Jackson).

Theatre Tulsa's New Stage initiative will soon offer its first-ever production with a widely hailed play from 2010 that has never before graced an Oklahoma stage: "Clybourne Park," by Bruce Norris, is a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning comedy/drama that was written in response to Lorraine Hansberry's landmark play, "A Raisin in the Sun" (1959). "Clybourne Park" will be staged in the Liddy Doenges Theatre at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center from tomorrow night (Friday the 21st) through March 2nd.

"A Streetcar Named Desire" --- which earned playwright Tennessee Williams the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948, was the basis for the classic 1951 film with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, and remains one of the fundamental if not defining works of the American stage --- is opening at 7:30pm tonight (Friday the 14th) here in Tulsa, in a new production at the Tulsa PAC's John H. Williams Theatre. This version of "Streetcar" is being produced by The Playhouse Tulsa; it's running through February 22nd.

(Please note: This interview first aired about a year ago.) We are happy to welcome the acclaimed author (and fifth-generation Oklahoman) Rilla Askew back to our show. Askew received a 2009 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and she is a three-time recipient of the Oklahoma Book Award. Her latest novel, "Kind of Kin," is now being published in paperback; it first appeared in hardback in early 2013. Askew joins us to chat about this work.

(Note: This program first aired last year.) On our show today, we speak by phone with David Skinner, an editor and writer whose work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, The New Atlantis, Slate, The Washington Times, and other publications.

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with Susan Nussbaum, an accomplished playwright, first-time novelist, and longtime disabilities-rights advocate. Nussbaum tells us about her widely acclaimed and award-winning debut novel, "Good Kings Bad Kings," which is just out in paperback, and which a critic for The Los Angeles Review of Books has called "a knockout.... Nussbaum possesses an astonishing ear for idiosyncratic voices, and a talent for creating characters who appear in full bloom within a few sentences.

On today's show, we speak with John Wooley, host of the popular "Swing on This" program here on Public Radio 89.5, which airs every Saturday night at 7pm. Wooley is also a prolific and longtime writer/critic/advocate/fanboy concerning many various facets of American pop culture: horror movies, Western Swing music, comic books, pulp fiction, Oklahoma music and filmmaking, etc.

(Please note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is the writer Kate Christensen, whose six novels include "The Great Man," which won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award. Her reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Elle, and elsewhere --- and her popular blog can be accessed here. Her latest book is "Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites," an acclaimed memoir, which she discusses with us on today's ST.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who's well-known and widely celebrated for his drama, "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," which first appeared in the early 1990s, and which was thereafter converted into an HBO-TV miniseries  that was directed by Mike Nichols.

Today on StudioTulsa, we're joined by our friend and colleague Richard Higgs, a local writer who's well-known as one of the co-hosts of Folk Salad, the long-running folk & blues & Red Dirt (& alt-country & Americana & singer-songwriter & what-not) radio show heard Sunday evenings at 7pm here on Public Radio 89.5. Higgs has a new book out, "Then There Is No Mountain: An American Memoir," which he discusses with us today.

(Please note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is the celebrated American author, Philip Caputo, who was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in Chicago before going on to write several notable works of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, including 1977's "A Rumor of War," one of the most highly praised and widely read volumes ever published on the Vietnam War.

Tomorrow, Saturday the 19th, the annual Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers will happen here on the TU campus; it's a day-long writing-and-editing symposium presented by Nimrod International Journal, running from 9:30am to 4:30pm and offering workshops in fiction, poetry, memoir, YA fantasy, writing queries and synopses for literary agents, and more.

Today we speak with Mary Kay Zuravleff, an acclaimed author with Oklahoma roots who's now based in Washington, D.C., where she serves on the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She'll be in Tulsa tonight (Tuesday the 1st) to participate in a "Book Smart Tulsa BBQ" at Harwelden Mansion, which begins at 6pm.

On our show today, we speak by phone with David Skinner, an editor and writer whose work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, The New Atlantis, Slate, The Washington Times, and other publications. He's also the editor of Humanities magazine, which is published by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he joins us to discuss his book, "The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published," which is just now out in paperback.

(Note: This show originally aired earlier this year.) On this edition of ST, we speak with the celebrated young writer Nathaniel Rich (born 1980), whose essays and short stories have appeared in Harper's, McSweeney's, and elsewhere, and whose latest novel is called "Odds Against Tomorrow." Set in a New York City of the very near future, this novel tells the story of one Mitchell Zukor, a gifted young mathematician who works for a financial consulting firm called FutureWorld.

We speak today by phone with author Sara Farizan, who is the daughter of Iranian immigrants, lives near Boston, and has just published her first novel. It's a YA novel that's been getting great reviews, and it's called "If You Could Be Mine." This book tells the story of two girls, Sahar and Nasrin, lifelong friends who live in the great Iranian city known as Tehran, and who also happen to be in love with one another. It is, as a critic for School Library Journal has written, a "terrific debut novel....

On this edition of ST, we speak with Susan Kates, an associate professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Oklahoma, who tells us about her new book, an autobiographical collection of essays called "Red Dirt Women: At Home on the Oklahoma Plains." Born and raised in Ohio, Kates now considers herself an Oklahoman --- she's been teaching at OU for the past two decades or so --- and this book quite deliberately traces her development from immigrant to native.

(Note: This program originally aired earlier this year.) Food, glorious food --- it's more, of course, than what we eat. Food is memory, family, love, culture, and community.