Memoir and Autobiography

On this penultimate day of Black History Month, we're talking about the life and work of one of our greatest African American writers, Langston Hughes (1902-1967), the prolific and influential poet, activist, novelist, memoirist, playwright, and newspaper columnist. Our guest on ST is David Roessel, one of the editors of the recently published "Selected Letters of Langston Hughes" (Knopf).

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with the author and food-and-health blogger Andie Mitchell about her widely praised new autobiography, "It Was Me All Along." In naming this title a "Best Book of the Month" for January 2015, one critic at Amazon.com gushed: "Andie Mitchell is irresistible. And by that I mean she's irresistible no matter whether she weighs 268 (at the start of this delightful memoir) or 133 (by its end).

On Friday the 30th, beginning at 7:45am, the Community Action Project of Tulsa (or simply "CAP Tulsa") will present a special event entitled Sunny Side Up. It's a fundraising breakfast that will spotlight recent graduates from CAP Tulsa's CareerAdvance Program; it happens at the Cains Ballroom in downtown Tulsa. CAP Tulsa is, per its website, "the largest anti-poverty agency in Oklahoma. We believe every family and every child deserves the same opportunity for success.

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Chris Guillebeau, an entrepreneur, traveler, and New York Times bestselling author. His first two books were "The Art of Non-Conformity" and "The $100 Startup" -- and today he tells us about his newest book, "The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life." Within the last year or so, Guillebeau completed his personal quest to visit every country in the world before reaching the age of 35.

The StoryCorps Mobile Recording Booth has returned to Tulsa; it will be parked at the Guthrie Green in Downtown Tulsa from today (Thursday the 16th) through November 15th. How does it work, you ask? Well, people come in pairs to interview family members, friends, mentors, and loved ones; StoryCorps is all about everyday people sitting down together to ask or answer life's important questions. It's a vast and far-flung oral history project like no other; after all StoryCorps interviews are completed, the recordings are archived at the Library of Congress for generations to come.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we present a delightful chat with Rosalind Cook, the locally based sculptor whose well-liked works can be seen throughout the Tulsa community (with more than 30 of her sculptures on public display). Cook's fine, sensitively rendered, and decidedly humane pieces celebrate the human as well as the divine, the earthbound or natural as well as the spiritual or devotional. And as the artist herself has noted, at her website: "I specialize in figurative bronze sculptures that are representational in style.

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.

We at StudioTulsa have been enjoying some much-cherished vacation time these past two weeks -- and hopefully you, dear listeners, have likewise enjoyed our Encore Presentations of ST for the weeks of August 4th and August 11th. If you'd like to listen to any of these past programs, you'll find audio-stream buttons for them at the following links.

(Note: This program originally aired earlier this year.) On this edition of our show, we offer an interesting chat with Peter Korn, the founder and executive director of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, a non-profit school in Rockport, Maine. A furniture-maker since 1974, Korn is also the author of several noted how-to books, yet his latest volume is, so to speak, more of a "why" book. It's a readable and far-reaching memoir called "Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman" --- and he discusses it with us today.

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.

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