For decades, science fiction was a genre written almost exclusively by white males. Now, the genre is flourishing with diverse voices, thanks in part to the trailblazing writer Octavia E. Butler. Historian Gerry Canavan discusses the obstacles Butler faced and her legacy on one of the most popular genres in American literature.
Gerry Canavan, professor at Marquette University and author, Octavia E. Butler
Jack London is known for the adventure and intrigue of his writings. Lesser known are the struggles London faced before he became a published author. He was well acquainted with manual labor under terrible working condition for minimal wages. The plight of laborers and the injustice they felt is woven into his fast paced plots.
Cecelia Tichi, Professor of English and American Studies at Vanderbilt University, as well as author of Jack London: A Writer’s Fight for a Better America, went back and reread all of London’s writings with social activism in mind. She found that London made a habit of commenting on social topics, specifically poverty and exploited workers.
Tichi explains Call of the Wild, London’s breakout work, contrasts American ideals with poverty and exploitation. She argues London deserve to be recognized as a forward political thinker, not just an author of exciting plot twists. Learn more at Tichi’s website: jacklondonbook.com
Cecelia Tichi, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English and professor of American Studies at Vanderbilt University, author, Jack London: A writer’s fight for a better America.
We grow up hearing nursery rhymes and fairy tales that deal with good and evil. All of us fondly remember the cartoons of our youth and the stories we grew up with. We talk to Soman Chainani about authoring a new entry into the catalogue of mythology and his attempt to course-correct the lessons more modern stories have been teaching our children.
Soman Chainani, author of The School for Good and Evil
Jonathan Lethem is the award-winning author of Motherless Brooklyn and other novels. His latest book is an inside look at his thoughts on literature. He talks to us about the importance reading, what inspires him, and how he feels about tough critics.
Mark Greaney is a New York Times bestselling author perhaps best known for collaborating with Tom Clancy on three books, but Greaney’s own spy series has been ongoing since 2009. He joins the show to talk about his Gray Man series, where he gets his inspiration, and to separate the true elements he learned from real US operatives from the fiction he imagines when writing.
Synopsis: Crime novels are among the most popular reading in the U.S., and nobody writes a more engaging, suspenseful and factually accurate story than award-winning and best-selling novelist Patricia Cornwell. Her Kay Scarpetta series is full of detailed forensic information, and we talked to her about how she gathers her facts and actually experiences some of the dangerous situations that she puts her heroine through in her books.
Host: Marty Peterson. Guests: Patricia Cornwell, crime novelist, author of “Flesh and Blood”
Synopsis: So much literature is written by white authors – of the past and present – that it’s not always relevant to young people of color, immigrants or those from non-western backgrounds. Our guest, an award-winning author, says it’s time to hear from different voices in literature – beginning when children just start to open books. We’ll hear how she became a writer, and get a peek inside her memoir of growing up in two worlds – written entirely in verse.
Host: Marty Peterson. Guests: Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning author of “Brown Girl Dreaming,” a memoir written entirely in verse.