Writers on Writing

On this edition of ST, we're talking about food, glorious food -- and in particular, American food. What does the phrase "American cuisine" actually refer to? And what do we mean when we say that a certain dish has been "Americanized"? Is there a national menu that we all share in this vast nation? And what will food in the USA be like in the future?

Our guest is the novelist Jonathan Lee, whose new book is a vivid, page-turning work of historical fiction titled "The Great Mistake." It's a novel set in 19th-century New York City that digs deeply and engagingly into the life and times of -- and the mysterious murder of -- a man named Andrew Haswell Green. Not well-remembered today but very famous in his time, Green (who was called "The Father of Greater New York") was a lawyer and city planner whose visionary deal-making led to establishment of Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bronx Zoo, and the New York Public Library.

(Note: This interview first aired back in February.) Our guest is the writer and film historian Mark Harris, whose newest book, which he tells us about, is a biography of Mike Nichols (1931-2014). Born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin, the young Nichols, along with his brother and his parents, escaped the Nazis in 1939 by relocating to the United States. Nichols went on to have a long, remarkably creative career in show business, thriving as a film and theater director, actor, producer, and comedian.

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Dr. Daniel Gibbs, who's one of the 50 million or so people worldwide who've been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. But unlike most Alzheimer's patients, Dr. Gibbs worked as a neurologist for 25 years, caring for those with the very disease now affecting himself. He joins us to discuss his candid and engaging new memoir, "A Tattoo on My Brain: A Neurologist's Personal Battle against Alzheimer's Disease." In this work, Dr. Gibbs describes how he actually started to suspect he had Alzheimer's several years before an official diagnosis could be rendered.

Our guest is Suzanne Koven, a primary care physician and the inaugural writer-in-residence at Massachusetts General Hospital; she is also a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School. Koven joins us to discuss her new memoir, "Letter to a Young Female Physician." It's a work that, as the writer Andrew Solomon has noted, "charts both the real and the spurious demands that the medical system makes on those who become doctors and care for us all. [Koven's] memoir is by turns reassuring and disturbing, comical and tragic, hopeful and dire.

Our guest is Vaclav Smil, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. Smil is the author of 40+ books on topics like energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk asssessment, and public policy. He joins us to discuss his accessible and compelling new book of short essays, "Numbers Don't Lie." It's an eclectic, statistics-driven volume that effectively shows how numbers reveal the true state of our world today -- and how such numbers, much like unalterable facts, are what matter most.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we listen back our discussion from 1997 with the bestselling author and educator Jewell Parker Rhodes. At that time, we spoke with Rhodes about her then-new novel, "Magic City." This book was among the first works of published fiction to depict the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. A memorable and well-crafted novel of racism, vigilantism, and injustice, "Magic City" is now appearing in a new edition that includes a recently-composed afterword from by author.

(Note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is the British author Jenny Lecoat. She's recently published her debut novel, which she tells us about. "The Girl from the Channel Islands" is a compelling saga that happens to employ, at least in part, her own family's history. As was noted by Publishers Weekly: "Lecoat...draws on the history of Germany's WWII occupation of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, where [she] was raised. During the summer of 1940, Hedy Bercu is living on Jersey after having escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we discuss a work that takes a careful and long-overdue look at how caregiving and burnout so often go hand-in-hand in this country. Our guest is Kate Washington, an essayist, freelance writer, and food critic based in Northern California. Her new book, which she tells us about, is a memoir/report/study titled "Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America." As was noted by Kirkus Reviews, this book is "a biting critique of how America is failing its unpaid caregivers....

We're pleased to welcome Quraysh Ali Lansana back to StudioTulsa; the writer, poet, educator, and Tulsa Artist Fellow joins us to discuss his newest book. That volume, "Opal's Greenwood Oasis," is a children's book for which he is the co-author. Aimed at elementary-school readers, the book profiles one Opal Brown, who takes her very first "on her own" bike ride throughout her home neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

(Note: This interview originally aired last summer.) We're pleased to welcome our friend John Wooley back to StudioTulsa. A longtime Tulsa-based music and pop-culture writer -- and the host, of course, of the popular Swing on This program, heard every Saturday night here on KWGS -- Wooley is the co-author, along with Brett Bingham, of a new book about the historic Cain's Ballroom.

Our guest is Nancy Pearl, the well-known librarian, bestselling author, and former executive director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library. She's also a longtime book reviewer for KWGS-FM / Public Radio Tulsa, as she used to live and work in Tulsa, decades ago, before relocating to Washington State. We're very pleased to welcome Nancy back to StudioTulsa; she joins us to recommend several books she's been particularly enjoying over the past (often quite solitary) year or so.

In the first two decades of the 21st century, New York City has experienced a terrorist attack, a blackout, a hurricane, an historic recession, widespread social injustice, and, of course, the current pandemic. How has all of this affected the lives of New Yorkers? Our guest is the bestselling author Craig Taylor, whose new book draws on years of interviews with hundreds of NYC residents in order to render an indelible group portrait of the city. As per Publishers Weekly: "[This is] an engrossing, multihued 'oral portrait' of New York City as told by the people who live there....

Our guest is Dorothy Wickenden, an author and editor at The New Yorker Magazine. She tells us about her fascinating new book, which explores various interlinked facets of American history, including abolition, the Underground Railroad, the early women's rights movement, and the Civil War. As the noted Yale historian David W. Blight has written of this book: "As a revolutionary, Harriet Tubman made many allies, none more important than her Auburn, New York, neighbors Martha Wright and Frances Seward.

We're pleased to welcome back to our program the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel, whose newest book, which he tells us about, is "Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic." The book employs in-depth interviews with the film's director, stars, crew, casting team, and others to provide the definitive account of an American movie like no other. One of the most innovative and daring motion pictures of its time, Midnight Cowboy won three Oscars, including Best Picture...and it was the first film ever to get an "X" rating.

Our guest is Olivia Campbell, a journalist specializing in medicine and women who has written for The Guardian, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and several other publications. Her first book is just out, and she joins us on ST Medical Monday to discuss it. "Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine" tells how three remarkable Victorian women broke down all sorts of barriers in order to become the first women doctors, thereby eventually revolutionizing the way all women receive health care.

Our guests today are the co-authors of an engrossing new book that blends true crime, memoir, and investigative reportage. Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan join us to talk about "The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer." This book details the life of a neglected young girl growing up in the Cape Cod region of the late 1960s, revealing in particular how she developed a friendship with her charismatic yet off-beat babysitter -- a man who, as she learned years later, was actually a serial killer.

(Note: This discussion first aired in October of last year.) Our guest is the well-regarded historian and author Peter Cozzens, who joins us to talk about his book, "Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation." This book argues that Tecumseh was actually a co-leader of sorts of the Shawnee tribe with his often-misunderstood younger brother, the shaman-like Tenskwatawa.

On this edition of ST, we remember Roger Mudd, the late political correspondent and probing television news anchor/reporter. Active in American TV journalism for more than three decades, he died last week at age 93. We spoke with Mudd in 2008, and we replay that discussion on today's show.

Our guest is Kevin Brockmeier, an imaginative and acclaimed writer based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

(Note: This interview first aired back in December.) Our guest is the writer Simon Han, who was born in China, grew up in Texas, and was formerly a Tulsa Artist Fellow. He joins us to discuss his novel, "Nights When Nothing Happened." As was noted of this tender, perceptive coming-of-age saga in a starred review in Kirkus: "Han expertly shifts the ground under the narrative, constantly shaking the snow globe to nudge the reader's perspective away from the familiar.... [The book's] characters are authentic, vulnerable, and utterly convincing, delivering one dynamite novel.

(Note: This interview first aired in September of 2020.) Our guest is Rachel Louise Snyder, an award-winning journalist and professor of creative writing and journalism at American University. She talks about her latest book, which is "No Visible Bruises: What We Don't Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us." As was noted of this widely-acclaimed study by The Washington Post: "Compulsively readable.... In a writing style that's as gripping as good fiction, as intimate as memoir, and deeply informed, [Snyder] takes us into the lives of the abused, the abusers, and the survivors....

We are pleased to welcome Joy Harjo back to StudioTulsa. The poet, writer, performer, and musician is the current United State Poet Laureate. She's also a Tulsa resident, and a Tulsa Artist Fellow. A member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation, she started writing as a young woman and started playing saxophone in her forties -- by now, she's well-regarded and widely celebrated in both capacities. Harjo joins us to discuss her new album, "I Pray for My Enemies," which is the first new recording of her music to appear in a decade.

(Note: This interview first aired back in October.) We welcome Sarah Smarsh back to StudioTulsa for a discussion of her latest book. It's a collection of essays that all focus on a certain country-music icon who also happens to be one of the most unifying figures in American culture: Dolly Parton. Smarsh talks with us about how Parton has, for decades now, both embodied and emboldened American women who live and work in poverty.

Our guest is Kayleen Schaefer, a journalist and author who has written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and other publications. Her new book, which she tells us about, is "But You're Still So Young: How Thirtysomethings Are Redefining Adulthood." The book looks carefully at how thirtysomethings in America today are -- and aren't -- meeting the milestones which sociologists commonly cite as the five markers of adulthood: finishing school, leaving home, marriage, gaining financial independence, and having kids.

Our guest is the writer Andrea Pitzer, who tells us about her newest book. It's a page-turning work of history about the Dutch polar explorer William Barents, one of the 16th century's greatest navigators. In particular, "Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World" details the three harrowing Arctic expeditions that Barents led, the last of which resulted in an extremely challenging year-long fight for survival. As was noted by The Wall Street Journal: "A fascinating modern telling of Barents's expeditions.... Ms.

Our guest is the writer and film historian Mark Harris, whose newest book, which he tells us about, is a biography of Mike Nichols (1931-2014). Born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin, the young Nichols, along with his brother and his parents, escaped the Nazis in 1939 by relocating to the United States. Nichols went on to have a long, remarkably creative career in show business, thriving as a film and theater director, actor, producer, and comedian. As a director, he was known and celebrated for helping his actors deliver particularly strong performances.

Our guest is Michelle Commander, an Associate Director and Curator at The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, which is a branch of the New York Public Library located in Harlem. The Schomberg Center has recently put out a pathbreaking new anthology, which she tells us about. The book is "Unsung: Unheralded Narratives of American Slavery and Abolition." It's a thorough and well-edited volume that traces gathers various writings and texts in order to convey the full historical arc of transatlantic slavery in the US.

Our guest is Dr. Michael F. Myers, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, New York. He's the author or co-author of several works, including "Why Physicians Die by Suicide." Dr. Myers joins us on StudioTulsa Medical Monday for a discussion of his new book, "Becoming a Doctors' Doctor: A Memoir." As was noted of this reflective and readable work by Dr.

Our guest is the Tulsa-based writer, creative writing teacher, playwright, and performer, Michael Wright. He's had an active, far-flung career in the dual worlds of literature and theatre. The author of novels, plays, poems, and varous performance-art and spoken-word experiments, Wright was also the 2010 Playwriting Teacher of the Year for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the winner of the Kennedy Center 2011 Milan Stitt Award for outstanding teaching and professional work in playwriting.

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