writing

For 5 years, Trish Hall set the high standard for which opinion pieces ultimately landed on the New York Times Op-Ed page. Her new book is "Writing to Persuade: How to Bring People Over to Your Side" and in it she shares her wisdom and lays it out in terms easy to emulate.

As the person in charge of the Op-Ed page for the New York Times, Hall spent years immersed in argument, passion, and trendsetting ideas but also in tangled sentences, migraine-inducing jargon, and dull-as-dishwater writing.

In the book she draws on her vast experience and presents the ultimate guide to writing persuasively for students, job applicants, and rookie authors looking to get published

Alison Lurie, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, "Foreign Affairs," has published ten books of fiction, four works of non-fiction, and three collections of tales for children.

"Words and Worlds: From Autobiography to Zippers" gathers together her reflections on the writing life; fond recollections of inspiring friends; and perceptive, playful commentary on preoccupations ranging from children’s literature to fashion and feminism. Citing her husband’s comment to her that “Nobody asked you to write a novel,” Lurie goes on to eloquently explain why there was never another choice for her.

It may be hard to believe, but this year marks the 10th annual Woodstock Bookfest and they will be busily igniting the conversation by bringing readers and writers together for a weekend of discussion and celebration.

Taking place from March 28–31, the festival hosts classes, panels, keynotes, Story Slams, parties and more, all in the unique surroundings of Woodstock.

Martha Frankel is the Executive Director of the Woodstock Bookfest and she joins us this morning along with award winning novelist, James Lasdun.

Susan Orlean’s latest bestseller, “The Library Book,” is an investigation into a 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Central Library that consumed 400,000 volumes and damaged another 700,000. In addition to shedding light on what happened, it is a celebration for an institution she’s cherished since she was a kid.

George Saunders is the author of eight books, including the story collections “Pastoralia” and “Tenth of December,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award. His first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” was released last year and won the Man Book Prize.

The book visits the cemetery where President Abraham and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s son, Willie, has just been entombed. The other characters are the less-recently dead who encourage the boy to cross over. “Lincoln in the Bardo” is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. 

Listener Essay - Taking Note

Jan 16, 2019
Bob Slack

Debbie Slack was honored to be a recipient of the 2018 Edwin Way Teale Artist in Residence at Trail Wood sponsored by the Connecticut Audubon Society.

Inspired by the residency, Debbie has been writing a series of essays which has expanded into a memoir titled "Trail Wood: A Love Story." Debbie is also focused on publishing her novel, "Margaret Mary and the Gutsy Girls." She is excited for their story to leave the comforts of home and venture out into the hearts of girls everywhere. Outside of writing, Debbie enjoys exploring nature with her husband, Bob, and their two Labradors.

~Taking Note~

This is the third time I visited Edwin Way Teale’s office at Trail Wood, in Hampton, Connecticut, however, it is the first time I arrived without my husband, Bob, and his camera. I am alone, prepared to work, to observe and take note. Previously I had arranged this appointment with Vern Pursley, the caretaker. His warm smile greets me and welcomes me into the home. Vern leaves the front door open and the breeze caresses the screen. Entering Edwin’s office, I gently set my backpack down and remove my paper and pens. Vern tells me to make myself at home and stepping away he says if I need anything to give him a shout. I can’t imagine shouting in this space. I can barely imagine sitting at Edwin’s desk and actually writing. The last time I stepped inside and sat down, I was in such a state that I trembled.

Sigrid Nunez’s novel, “The Friend,” is a moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog. The book won this year's National Book Award for fiction.

Nunez’s previous novels include “Salvation City,” “The Last of Her Kind” and “A Feather on the Breath of God.”

wikipedia commons/Gustav.jg

Today on Vox Pop, songwriter Reggie Harris joins novelist and storyteller Barbara Chepaitis to answer your questions about songwriting and more. WAMC's Ray Graf hosts.

Nancy Pearl has worked as a librarian and a bookseller for more than three decades, she is regularly featured on NPR’s Morning Edition talking about her favorite books.

The author of several works on non-fiction, she has now written her first novel, George & Lizzie, an emotional novel about an unlikely marriage as a crossroads.

World-renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg’s new memoir, “Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home” shares her experience with cancer grounded in her practice of writing and Zen. It is a reflection on being in love with your life even when life brings illness.

Summer Writing Series Adds Advocacy Program For Teens

May 11, 2018
Courtesy of SUNY NP/Hudson Valley Writing Project

There is a new program in the lineup for the Hudson Valley Writing Project’s summer writing workshops. The aim is to support young people as they write about and advocate for issues that matter to them.

For many today, retirement and the leisure said to accompany it have become vestiges of a slower, long‑lost time. In a world where the sense of identity is tied to work and careers, to stop working often is to become nobody.

In this "Last Works: Lessons in Leaving," Mark C. Taylor explores the final reflections of writers and thinkers from Kierkegaard to David Foster Wallace. How did they either face or avoid ending and leaving? What do their lessons in ending teach us about living in the time that remains for us?

Mark C. Taylor is professor of religion at Columbia University and a frequent contributor to the New York Times and NPR.

David Goehring, flickr

The focus of today's program is writing. In the studio is novelist Barbara Chepaitis and poet Dan Wilcox. They are here to answer your questions about the process of creative writing. WAMC’s Ray Graf hosts.

old Smith Premier typewriter
Jon Sullivan / Public Domain

The focus of today's program is writing. In the studio is novelist Barbara Chepaitis. She is here to answer your questions about the process of creative writing. WAMC’s Ray Graf hosts.

Flickr

On today’s program, it’s a writers forum. In the studio are novelist Barbara Chepaitis and reviewer Steve Sawicki. They are here to answer your questions about the process of creative writing. WAMC’s Brian Shields hosts.

Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels, his latest is House of Names. The book is his reimagining of one of the most famous Greek tragedies – the stories of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Iphigeneia, Electra, and Orestes.

Author Jim Shepard is the author of seven novels and four short story collections. He now has brought his amazing talents as a fiction writer with an intimate approach to real historical subjects to ten new short stories in his latest, The World to Come.

The new book includes powerful tales of courageous responsibility and criminal indifference set in the past and present.

Jonathan Lethem is the New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, including Dissident Gardens, The Fortress of Solitude, and Motherless Brooklyn; as well as several short story and essay collections.

He has a pair of new books - More Alive and Less Lonely is his collection of writing on writing.  He is also the co-editor of Shake It Up which spotlights landmark music writing.

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction – including his classics The Sandman and American Gods.

Now he turns his attention back to the source in his new book: Norse Mythology, where he fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc.

When Stéphane Gerson’s eight year old son, Owen, died in a rafting accident, he found himself in uncharted territory. In the weeks that followed, he started to write about life without his son. Eventually, those writings took shape as the new book, Disaster Falls: A Family Story. 

  Housed in a beautifully restored 1840s Greek-Revival schoolhouse at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. It offers a variety of free and low-cost community arts events, including concerts, readings, theater pieces, art exhibitions, and arts-related workshops and classes.

Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s 11th annual Festival of Books takes place over Labor Day weekend, September 3 through 5.

The festival features a giant used book sale, two days of discussions with and readings by esteemed authors, and a children’s program. Featured authors this year include Christopher Breiseth, Elizabeth Brundage, Michelle Hoover, Courtney Maum, David Pietrusza, Ruth Reichl, Russell Shorto, Will Swift, Mark Wunderlich, and Steve Yarbrough.

Here to tell us more about the festival is Spencertown Academy Arts Center board member and co-chair of the festival, David Highfill.

  In the early seventeenth century, a crippled, graying, almost toothless veteran of Spain's wars against the Ottoman Empire published a book. It was the story of a poor nobleman, his brain addled from reading too many books of chivalry, who deludes himself that he is a knight errant and sets off on hilarious adventures. That book, Don Quixote, went on to sell more copies than any other book beside the Bible, making its author, Miguel de Cervantes, the single most-read author in human history. Cervantes did more than just publish a bestseller, though. He invented a way of writing.

In The Man Who Invented Fiction William Egginton explores Cervantes's life and the world he lived in, showing how his influences converged in his work, and how his work--especially Don Quixote--radically changed the nature of literature and created a new way of viewing the world.

Joining us in the studio today is novelist Barbara Chepaitis and storyteller Mary Murphy. They’re here to answer your questions about the process of creative writing. 

  Local author/storytellers Courtney Maum and Hallie Goodman will lead a performance-based workshop where live reading is used as a revision tool.

Reading work out loud is a stupendous way to identify the trouble spots in a piece of writing. With the creative input of other participants, the workshop will help fiction and non-fiction writers understand where the work shines and where it can be tightened.

The workshop is presented by the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers and will take place this Saturday, May 7th at the Sandisfield Arts Center in Sandisfield, MA.

  Our Falling into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

This week we will feature the work of: The Excelsior College Online Writing Lab. To learn more we welcome - Dr. Crystal Sands - Founding Director of the Online Writing Lab and Dr. Frank Crocco, Associate Director of the Online Writing Lab.

  In his new novel The Doubter’s Almanac, Ethan Canin – the author of America, America and The Palace Thief explores the nature of genius,  rivalry, ambition, and love among multiple generations of a gifted family.

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today we're discussing the long and colorful history of American crime writing. Our guest is Harold Schecter, professor of English at Queens College, CUNY, and the editor of the Library of America's True Crime volume. A writer of true crime fiction himself, Harold recently served as the scholar-advisor for the New York Council's new Reading and Discussion series "True Crime an American Genre."

  Margaret Atwood is the author of more than 50  books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays including Cat's Eye, Alias Grace, and A Handmaid’s Tale. Her latest, The Heart Goes Last, is a funny disturbing tale about a new future in which the lawful are locked up and the lawless roam free.

Novelist Barbara Chepaitis and screenwriter John Holser join us to discuss the process of writing, NaNoWriMo and more.

  Long before his finest hour as Britain's wartime leader, Winston Churchill emerged on the world stage as a brazen foreign correspondent, covering wars of empire in Cuba, India, the Sudan, and South Africa.

In those far-flung corners of the world, reporting from the front lines between 1895 and 1900, Churchill mastered his celebrated command of language and formed strong opinions about war.

Based on his private letters and war reportage, Winston Churchill Reporting by Simon Read intertwines young Winston's daring exploits in combat, adventures in distant corners of the globe, and rise as a major literary talent.

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