World Literature

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we welcome the bestselling author Mark Kurlansky back to our show. Kurlansky's latest book, which he discusses with us today, is "Paper: Paging Through History." It's a detailed and deeply researched volume that both explains and explores one of the simplest and most essential pieces of human technology. For the past 2,000 years or so, the ability to produce paper in ever more efficient ways has supported -- if not driven -- the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, education, commerce, and art.

(Note: This show first aired back in February.) On this edition of ST, we're discussing an interesting literary biography called "The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered In the Modern World." Our guest is the author, William Egginton, who is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and a Professor of German and Romance Languages and Literatures at the Johns Hopkins University. As was noted of this compelling study in the pages of Publishers Weekly: "Egginton weaves together Cervantes's life story with his development as a writer.

On this edition of ST, we present a fascinating discussion with Dr. Robert Spoo, the Chapman Distinguished Chair at The University of Tulsa College of Law, who has recently been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2016 by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

(Note: This interview first aired last fall.) How long has atheism been a part of human experience? Most people today regard the sustained, intellectually rigorous adherence to non-religion as an invention of the European Enlightenment -- or, more recently, of modernity. But as our guest argues on this edition of ST, atheism is actually -- like so many other aspects of Western life and culture -- a phenomenon with origins in the societies of the ancient Mediterranean.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we're discussing an interesting new literary biography called "The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered In the Modern World." Our guest is the author, William Egginton, who is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and a Professor of German and Romance Languages and Literatures at the Johns Hopkins University. As was noted of this compelling study in the pages of Publishers Weekly: "Egginton weaves together Cervantes's life story with his development as a writer.

(Note: This show originally aired earlier this year.) On this edition of ST, an engaging chat with Shaun Usher, a writer, researcher, and blogger based in the UK. Usher tells us about his latest book, which he edited and compiled: "Lists of Note: An Eclectic Collection Deserving of a Wider Audience." Hailed in the British press as "beautiful and immensely satisfying" (The Observer) and as "1. Splendid. 2. Addictive. 3.

How long has atheism been a part of human experience? Most people today regard the sustained, intellectually rigorous adherence to non-religion as an invention of the European Enlightenment -- or, more recently, of modernity. But as our guest argues on this edition of ST, atheism is actually -- like so many other aspects of Western life and culture -- a phenomenon with origins in the societies of the ancient Mediterranean.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the newest production from Tulsa's own American Theatre Company, "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett. Our guest is Lisa Wilson, who's directing this postmodernist/absurdist classic. The play will be staged from tonight (the 30th) though November 7th at the ATC space in downtown Tulsa near 3rd and Lansing.

On this edition of our show, we speak by phone with Fran Stallings, a longtime storyteller who has performed at numerous national and international storytelling festivals, in schools and libraries, and on the radio. Stallings has two new books out, which she tells us about: "How to Fool a Cat: Japanese Folktales for Children" and "The Price of Three Stories: Rare Folktales from Japan." In each of these collections, Stallings has edited and adapted the stories of her friend and collaborator, Hiroko Fujita.

On this edition of ST, an engaging chat with Shaun Usher, a writer, researcher, and blogger based in the U.K. Usher tells us about his new book, just out, which he edited and compiled: "Lists of Note: An Eclectic Collection Deserving of a Wider Audience." Hailed in the British press as "beautiful and immensely satisfying" (The Observer) and as "1. Splendid. 2. Addictive. 3.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in April.) "Don't just do something," goes an old saying that's sometimes attributed to the Buddha, "sit there." On this installment of ST, we speak with the acclaimed travel writer and essayist Pico Iyer, whose newest book is called "The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere." It may seem odd to find one of contemporary literature's best travel writers composing a book-lenth essay about not traveling, but Iyer begs to differ.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview from March with Paul Strohm, who has taught medieval literature at Columbia University, was the J. R. R. Tolkien Professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford University, and remains a noted scholar of the life and work of Geoffrey Chaucer. When he appeared on our show, Strohm spoke about his newest book, "Chaucer's Tale: 1386 and the Road to Canterbury." The year 1386, as Strohm explains, was probably the worst of Chaucer's life, but it's also when he began his best-known poem.

"A Paris Apartment" -- A Bestselling Novel Now in Paperback

Jun 29, 2015

On this edition of ST, author Michelle Gable joins us by phone to discuss her bestselling novel, "A Paris Apartment," which is just out in paperback from St. Martin's. It's the readable and hard-to-resist story of one April Vogt, a furniture specialist at Sotheby's in NYC who travels to Paris to investigate an apartment in the fabled ninth arrondissement neighborhood that's been unoccupied -- and, in fact, totally forgotten -- for the past seventy years. Once in France, April quickly learns that the furniture-laden apartment is not merely some rich hoarder's repository.

"Don't just do something," goes an old saying that's sometimes attributed to the Buddha, "sit there." On this installment of ST, we speak with the widely acclaimed travel writer and essayist Pico Iyer, whose newest book is called "The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere." It may seem odd to find one of contemporary literature's best travel writers composing a book-lenth essay about not traveling, but Iyer begs to differ.

Our guest today on StudioTulsa is D.T. Max, a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine who's also the author of "Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace," a highly regarded literary biography which first appeared a few years ago.

On this installment of ST, getting to know -- as best we can -- the rather mysterious figure (a/k/a "the father of English literature") who wrote "The Canterbury Tales." Our guest is Paul Strohm, who has taught medieval literature at Columbia University, was the J. R. R. Tolkien Professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford University, and remains a noted scholar of the life and work of Geoffrey Chaucer.

On this installment of ST, we speak with Assaf Gavron, an Israeli novelist whose widely hailed fiction has been translated into several languages. Gavron's latest novel, newly available in English from Scribner's, is called "The Hilltop." Acclaimed by at least one critic as "the Great Israeli Novel" and winner of the prestigious Bernstein Prize, this ambitious, many-layered, and occasionally quite funny story explores contemporary life in a West Bank settlement.

On this Veterans Day edition of StudioTulsa, we're talking about a certain classic novel that came out of World War I, "The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse" by the Spanish author Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, and about a silent-film epic, from 1921, which had the same title, and which was based on this novel -- and which also introduced audiences around the globe to an unknown actor named Rudolph Valentino.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the well-regarded author, essayist, and cultural critic Chuck Klosterman, who has published a number of books and also writes the weekly "Ethicist" column for The New York Times Magazine. Klosterman's latest title, "I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined)," is just out in paperback; it's a far-reaching, 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...as well as the very notion of villainy itself.

(Note: This interview originally aired earlier this year.) There's an old Lenny Bruce one-liner that goes like this: "Everyday, people are straying away from the church and going back to God." In this day and age, there must be some truth to that idea; while it's true that more and more people in this country are giving up on the religion they grew up with or else rejecting organized religion entirely, it's also true that many who have turned away from religious institutions --- as well as many others who've lived wholly without religion --- really do hunger for something more than what con

Molière's "Tartuffe" --- or "The Impostor" --- is a classic French play that was first performed in 1664. Bitingly satirical and LOL funny, this play tells the story of a deplorable religious con-man who tries to obtain the title to his friend's estate by sending him to jail; the title character of this ever-popular comedy also tries to rob that friend blind, to seduce his wife and daughter, and so on. "Tartuffe" is a work that's often revived in updated versions or alternate settings, and such is the case with the production of "Tartuffe" that TU's Department of Theatre is now staging.

Last month, it was announced that the University of Tulsa's McFarlin Library had acquired a rare, well-preserved copy of a large, handmade, and lavishly decorated book that's seen by many experts as one the most handsome illustrated books produced during the 20th century. Published by Golden Cockerel Press in 1931, "The Four Gospels" is a sterling example of the renaissance in artistry and craftsmanship in British book design/production that occurred in the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

Our guest on this edition of ST is the Japanese-born British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, one of the leading novelists of his generation, whose works have been translated into 28 languages, and who's also the recipient of the 2013 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award (which is bestowed annually by the Tulsa Library Trust).

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.

On this edition of our show, we speak with Max McLean, the producer and director of "The Screwtape Letters" --- he also formerly starred in this production --- which will be staged at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center on Saturday the 5th at both 4pm and 8pm. This is a theatrical adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel of the same title, which is a widely cherished little book (commonly seen as a masterpiece, and dating from the early 1940s) that presents letters written by one of Satan's leading demons (named Screwtape) to his nephew (named Wormwood).

On this edition of our show, we're pleased to welcome back Prof. Robert Spoo, the Chapman Distinguished Chair at The University of Tulsa College of Law. Prof.

Nimrod International Journal, founded in 1956 here at TU, is a well-respected, twice-a-year literary publication that's been dedicated to printing work by writers both emerging and established for more than half a century. Our guest is Francine Ringold, editor-in-chief of Nimrod, who describes the latest issue, which is just out now. This issue's theme is "Lasting Matters: Writers 57 and Over" --- and as Fran adds, there will be a special, free-to-the-public reading from this issue tonight (Thursday the 27th) at 7:30pm in the Meinig Recital Hall at TU's Lorton Performing Arts Center.

Sure, you loved "The Catcher in the Rye" at the age of 16...but would you still love it? You appreciated "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Cannery Row" way back when, but would that still be the case today? And on the other hand, if the plays of Ibsen or Shakespeare didn't exactly knock you out during that long-ago sophomore year of college, do you think they'd still miss the mark? Or might they be worth another shot?

"Running the Rift: A Novel"

Jan 4, 2013

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Naomi Benaron about her debut novel, "Running the Rift," which appeared in soft-cover back in October, and which was awarded the Bellwether Prize in 2010 (which is given biennially to an unpublished novel that confronts social issues). "Running the Rift" is set in Rwanda; it begins in 1994 and runs, as a narrative, through 1998. Thus it takes place in a country that knew horrific genocide in a devastatingly hellish conflict that pitted neighbor against neighbor.