American Literature

On this installment of ST, we speak with the winner of the 2014 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, which is annually given by the Tulsa Library Trust. (Past recipients of this honor include Michael Chabon, John Updike, and Geraldine Brooks.) Ann Patchett is our guest today; she is a bestselling American novelist and essayist who's written six novels (among them "The Magician's Assistant," "Bel Canto," "Run," and "State of Wonder") and three books of nonfiction (including the recent "This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage").

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we listen back to an interview that we first aired earlier this year with the author, essayist, and cultural critic Chuck Klosterman. At that time, we chatted with Klosterman about his essay collection, "I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined)," which is an often funny and highly entertaining exploration of why we as a society are so attracted to -- yet also, of course, repelled by -- villains both fictional and nonfictional.

The Department of Theatre here at TU will soon present one of the greatest plays of the modern American stage, "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams. It's the play that made Williams a household name in the mid-1940s -- a clearly autobiographical drama, set in Depression-era St. Louis, in which an aging and rather unstable Southern Belle longs for her youth and dreams of a better life for her children: the restless would-be poet, Tom, who narrates this memory play, and the shy if not reclusive Laura, Tom's elder sister.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview that we did in April with the novelist and essayist Ayelet Waldman (whose books include "Red Hook Road," "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits," "Daughter's Keeper," and "Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes"). Waldman spoke with us about her then-new novel, "Love and Treasure," which has been thus summarized in Booklist: "Classics scholar Jack Wiseman, in the last throes of pancreatic cancer, entrusts an enamel locket to his granddaughter, imploring her to find the rightful owner. It's the only thing he's ever asked of her.

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.