American Literature

(Note: This show first aired back in March.) Our guest is the Colorado-based writer Peter Heller, who tells us about his new novel, "The River." Per The Denver Post: "A fiery tour de force [of] poetic, staccato sentences and masterfully crafted prose.... The story itself resembles a trip down a river -- some parts are peaceful and allow for quiet introspection and big, deep breaths. But then you hit the rapids and the danger and risk jump off the page, forcing a sense of urgency. In those thrilling parts, reading required self-discipline.

"Lovely War: A Novel"

Aug 20, 2019

Our guest is Julie Berry, the bestselling young-adult novelist. Her writing has earned starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, the Horn Book, and elsewhere. She joins us to discuss her new book, "Lovely War: A Novel." As was noted of this work by School Library Journal: "The Greek gods relate the tale of how four young people's fates collide in a love story for the ages. Caught by Hephaestus in an compromising position with Ares, the god of War, Aphrodite is put on trial by her husband in a Manhattan hotel.

(Note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Nathan Englander is our guest; he's the bestselling author of "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank," and other books. He joins us to discuss his new novel, "Kaddish.com." Per a critic writing for The New York Times, this book is "sublime.... [It] reads like a modern-day Hasidic tale in which religious characters are bedeviled by the challenges of upholding God's word in an all too human world.... Kafka and Roth's influences are felt in Englander's work....

Many of us living here in Oklahoma -- and indeed, living all over the nation -- are today both pleased and proud to affirm that Joy Harjo, the much-celebrated, 68-year-old writer and musician based in Tulsa, was recently named by the Library of Congress as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States. A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, Harjo is the first Native person to be selected for this honorable role. On this edition of StudioTulsa, we listen back to a conversation that we aired with Harjo in 2012, when her well-regarded memoir, "Crazy Brave," had just appeared.

Our guest is Elliot Ackerman, the author of several widely-acclaimed novels who's also a former Marine; he served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. Ackerman joins us to discuss his new book, a collection of autobiographical essays called "Places and Names: On War, Revolution, and Returning." Per a starred review of this volume in Booklist: "[A] searing, contemplative, and unforgettable memoir-in-essays....

Nathan Englander is our guest; he's the bestselling author of "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, and "Dinner at the Center of the Earth," among other books. He joins us to discuss his new novel, "Kaddish.com." Per a critic writing for The New York Times, this book is "sublime.... [It] reads like a modern-day Hasidic tale in which religious characters are bedeviled by the challenges of upholding God's word in an all too human world.... Kafka and Roth's influences are felt in Englander's work....

The highly acclaimed novelist Rachel Kushner is our guest; she joins us to discuss her latest novel, "The Mars Room," which is now out in paperback. As was noted of this book (which was Time Magazine's #1 Fiction Title of the Year as well as a New York Times Notable Book of 2018) in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "Two-time National Book Award finalist Kushner delivers a heartbreaking and unforgettable novel set in a California women's prison.

There are countless examples of writers using paintings or other visual art as inspiration to create entirely new work. Think "Girl with a Pearl Earring," "The Da Vinci Code," or even "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats. This is what the award-winning writer Donna Baier Stein did when she decided to write a new collection of short stories based on lithographs by iconic American artist Thomas Hart Benton. The issues that Benton dealt with and depicted throughout the Great Depression and afterward still resonate today.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the acclaimed poet and writing instructor Quraysh Ali Lansana (born 1964 in Enid, Oklahoma). Now based in Tulsa and recently named a Tulsa Artist Fellow, Lansana has published several books over the years: poetry collections, children's books, edited or co-edited anthologies, textbooks, etc. Long based in Chicago, and greatly influenced by the African-American cultural, social, and political life of that city -- and more generally, by the Black Arts Movement in American life and letters -- Lansana has a new book out.

Our guest is the well-regarded Pennsylvania-based poet, Ron Silliman, who has written and edited over 30 books, and who is seen as one of the founders of the so-called Language Poetry movement in American literature. A 2003 Literary Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, Silliman also received the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation in 2010 (among many other honors). He'll be reading from and talking about his work tonight (the 11th) as part of the 2nd Annual TulsaLitFest.

(Note: This interview first aired back in November.) Our guest is the noted playwright, Sarah Ruhl, a Tony Award nominee and the author of "100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write," which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She tells us about her newest book, a collection of moving and insightful letters between herself and Max Ritvo (1990-2016). Ruhl teaches at the Yale School of Drama, and Ritvo, a noted poet who died young of cancer, had been one of her favorite students.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to our June 2018 chat with the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Lawrence Wright. At that time, his book "God Save Texas" had just appeared; it's a collection of stereotype-busting essays exploring the history, culture, and politics of Lone Star State. As was noted of this book by The New York Times: "Vivid.... Omnivorous.... Affectionate and genial.... [Wright] captures the full range of Texas in all its shame and glory....

"The River: A Novel"

Mar 11, 2019

Our guest is the writer Peter Heller, whose new novel, "The River," has been named an Amazon Best Book of March 2019. It's a fast-paced, thoughtful thriller about two friends on a river excursion in northern Canada. And per The Denver Post: "A fiery tour de force [of] poetic, staccato sentences and masterfully crafted prose.... The story itself resembles a trip down a river -- some parts are peaceful and allow for quiet introspection and big, deep breaths. But then you hit the rapids and the danger and risk jump off the page, forcing a sense of urgency.

Novelist Thomas Mallon is our guest. His latest historical yarn, which he tells us about, explores the George W. Bush White House. It's called "Landfall," and per The Wall Street Journal: "As in Mr. Mallon's many other novels, the writing is crisp and witty, the central characters complex and sympathetic in surprising ways, the narrative structure tight." And further, from The New York Times Book Review: "Entertainingly bitchy.... Smart and knowing and absorbing.... Extremely well-made.... The prose is a pleasure.... 'Landfall' is fascinating." Please note that Mr.

Our guest is the novelist Margaret Verble. Her new book, which she tells us about, is "Cherokee America." Set on the American frontier in the spring of 1875, and specifically in the Cherokee Nation -- which would later be part of Oklahoma -- this novel follows a series of complex family alliances and cultural and racial clashes in the aftermath of the Civil War. It's a vivid (and often funny) novel of blood relations and home lands, of buried histories and half-told truths, and of past grief and present-day harm.

Nancy Pearl is our guest on ST. An editor, novelist, literary critic, retired librarian, and internationally acclaimed reading and literacy advocate, Pearl used to live and work in Tulsa -- way back in the day -- and that's when she started appearing occasionally on our radio show. Pearl returns today (by phone) to share several bookish gift-giving ideas.

Our guest is the noted playwright, Sarah Ruhl, a Tony Award nominee and the author of "100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write," which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She tells us about her newest book, a collection of moving and insightful letters between herself and Max Ritvo (1990-2016). Ruhl teaches at the Yale School of drama, and Ritvo -- a noted poet who died young of cancer -- had been one of her favorite students.

(Note: This show first aired back in April.) Our guest is Bruce D. Haynes, a professor in the Department of Sociology at UC-Davis. He's the co-author of a new memoir, "Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family," which interestingly blends personal narrative, African-American social history, and the literary and academic cultures of Harlem and New York City.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview from October of last year. At that time, we spoke with Jennifer Egan about her novel, "Manhattan Beach," which is just now out in paperback. As was noted of this book in a starred review in Kirkus: "After stretching the boundaries of fiction in myriad ways...Egan does perhaps the only thing left that could surprise: she writes a thoroughly traditional novel.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Richard Russo, the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such popular novels as Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool. Also known for his short stories and autobiographical writings, Mr. Russo has a new book out, his very first collection of personal essays, which he tells us about. It's called "The Destiny Thief." Note: Mr. Russo will soon do a free-to-the-public reading and signing here in Tulsa; on Thursday the 17th, beginning at 7pm, he'll be at the TCC Center for Creativity.

On this edition of ST, we offer a chat with Pam Muñoz Ryan, the prolific American writer for children and young adults who often produces books with multicultural and/or progressive themes. Ryan is the winner of the 2018 Anne V. Zarrow Award, which is given annually by the Tulsa Library Trust. Her 40 or so books include "Riding Freedom" (1998), "Esperanza Rising" (2000), "The Dreamer" (2010), and "Echo" (2015). She will appear here in Tulsa at a free-to-the-public event on Friday the 4th at the Hardesty Regional Library (which begins at 7pm).

On this edition of ST, we learn about the first-ever Tulsa Lit.Fest, an impressive array of free-to-the-public events that will happen here in our community from tomorrow (the 19th) through Sunday (the 22nd).

Our guest is Bruce D. Haynes, a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Davis. He's the co-author of a new memoir, "Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family," which interestingly blends personal narrative, African-American social history, and the literary and academic cultures of Harlem and New York City.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with the Austin-based, Montana-raised filmmaker Alex Smith, who's currently visiting TU in order to screen and answer questions about his feature film, "Walking Out." (The film will be shown tonight, the 13th, at the Lorton Performance Center; the screening is free to the public.) Smith and his twin brother Andrew work together on various film and TV projects, and "Walking Out" is their most recent movie.

Our guest is the writer and writing teacher Brandon Hobson, whose new novel, "Where the Dead Sit Talking," has just been published. Set in rural Oklahoma during the late 1980s, it's a spare, lyrical, and at times troubling story about a fifteen-year-old Cherokee boy who's been placed in foster care. As was noted of this book in a starred Publishers Weekly review: "Hobson's narrative control is stunning....

The author and journalist Mark Whitaker is our guest on StudioTulsa. A former managing editor of CNN Worldwide, and a previous Washington bureau chief for NBC News, Whitaker has a new book out, which he tells us about. It's an "expansive, prodigiously researched, and masterfully told history" (Kirkus Reviews) called "Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance." As was noted in an appreciation of this book in USA Today: "Pittsburgh was one of the country's citadels of black aspiration in music, sports, business, and culture.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Wyoming's own C.J. Box, who is the bestselling author of more than 20 novels, including the popular Joe Pickett series. A winner of the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel, the Gumshoe Award, the Western Heritage Award for Literature, and various other honors, Box is among the most popular writers at work today within the mystery/suspense/detective genre.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to our conversation from September with Jared Johnson, who's a fine drummer on the Tulsa-area music circuit as well as a drumset instructor at Northeastern State University. Jared gigs widely on the local scene, playing in all sorts of bands and musical settings, and mainly works as a jazz drummer.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the locally based poet, poetry teacher, and literary activist, Victoria McArtor. She tells us about her new book, "Reverse Selfie," which is a collection of poems written in response to -- or in conversation with, or in tribute to -- various Tulsa landmarks. This book, which actually began as a write-one-poem-every-day-for-a-month project back in 2015, also features striking photographs by Matthew Phipps, thereby capturing in both words and images the vitality, beauty, wonder, and strangeness of the City of Tulsa.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak once again with our longtime book reviewer, Nancy Pearl. A retired librarian, bestselling author, literary critic, and former Tulsan, Nancy, now based in Seattle, is a well-known reading advocate who was named the 2011 Librarian of the Year by Library Journal.

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