• 2019 Podcasts

2019 Podcasts

Ep. 1 – What Women Want

Aya de Leon, Laura Lindstedt, Lisa Locascio, Tamsen Wolff, moderated by Lisa D. Gray

Aya de Leon’s women characters rob the rich and protect the exploited, Laura Lindstedt depicts seven women meeting after death, Lisa Locascio tells of a young woman discovering her sexual power and Tamsen Wolff traces the path of friendship, love and heartbreak between two women. With the support of FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and Women Lit members.

Ep. 2 – Unlikely Alliances and Other Surprises in Historical Fiction

Yangsze Choo, Terry Gamble, Christopher Tilghman, moderated by Janis Cooke Newman

These historical novels transport us to worlds full of surprising connections that cross divisions of class, race and more. These authors explore power dynamics and tricky relationships from 1930s colonial Malaysia, to pre-Civil War Ohio, to the streets of Paris and the vineyards of Midi in the Victorian era.

Ep. 3 – A Unique Feminine Mystique: The Female Detective

Cara Black, Kjell Ola Dahl, S.A. Lelchuk, Jenny Rogneby, moderated by Eileen Rendahl

These writers are as fierce as their female crime fighters. Their protagonists confront corrupt cops, solve mysterious deaths while juggling personal woes, quash terrorism and try to stay alive while doling out justice. With support from the Norway House Foundation, NORLA, the Consulate General of Sweden in San Francisco, SWEA San Francisco and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.

Ep. 4 – The Uninhabitable Earth

David Wallace-Wells interviewed by Julian Brave NoiseCat

One New York Times reviewer called journalist David WallaceWells’ “The Uninhabitable Earth” ”the most terrifying book I have ever read.” It also is one of the most important. Both literary and science-based, the book is a chilling account of the ticking clock looming over humanity as climate change threatens to render the earth unfit for human life.

Ep. 5 – The Unbreakable Human Spirit: Albert Woodfox on Survival in Solitary

Albert Woodfox interviewed by Shane Bauer

One of the “Angola 3,” Albert Woodfox endured four decades of solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. In our closing keynote session, Woodfox will be interviewed by Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer, author of “American Prison” and himself a survivor of solitary confinement.

Ep. 6 – A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity, and Craft

Camille Acker, Dickson Lam, Ismail Muhammad, David Mura, moderated by David Roderick

To write race and ethnicity well, we need the right tools and the right reading list. Join four writer-teachers of color as they unpack the questions of identity that drive their writing, mark the pitfalls of self-exotification and weigh the rewards of penning richer, riskier work.

Ep. 7 – Let The World Move: Speculative Fiction From the Periphery

Lesley Nneka Arimah, Alice Sola Kim, Carmen Maria Machado, moderated by Namwali Serpell

These masterful storytellers tackle the mysterious, the wild,the terrifying and the magical in their speculative fiction. With enthralling work that defies convention, they are creating a cultural shift in the literary landscape. Presented by the UC Berkeley English Department and the Peripheral Futures Working Group; also with the support of Women Lit members.

Ep. 8 – What Does It Mean to Be Human? Rethinking Belonging at the Frontier of Genetic Engineering

George Estreich and Jamie Metzl, moderated by Lance Knobel

New biomedical technologies — from prenatal testing to gene editing techniques — raise questions about how far we should go in retooling the human genome. Two leading thinkers, George Estreich (“Fables and Futures: Biotechnology, Disability, and the Stories We Tell Ourselves,”) and Jamie Metzl (“Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity”) explore these new frontiers — and their limits. Sponsored by Berkeleyside.

Ep. 9 – On Not Mothering

Sheila Heti, Emilie Pine, Grace Talusan, moderated by Nayomi Munaweera

Often regarded with pity or disdain, women who don’t mother are made to feel like failures. But what possibilities are opened by a child-free life? Brazen in their vulnerability, these authors break the silence on not mothering, addressing the assumptions, stigmas and rewards. With the support of the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco/Silicon Valley; Culture Ireland; and Women Lit members.

Ep. 10 – The Lies That Bind: Kwame Anthony Appiah on Identity

Kwame Anthony Appiah interviewed by 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner Carlos Lozada

Through history and philosophy, Kwame Anthony Appiah, weekly columnist for The New York Times, explores the compulsion to define and gather around identity. How do groups struggling for justice use, or misuse, identity? Can a more nuanced understanding bring us together? Carlos Lozada, 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner and nonfiction book critic for The Washington Post, will interview.

Ep. 11 – Enough Is Enough: Fighting Economic Injustice

Anand Giridharadas, Robert Reich, and Kat Taylor

Anger about economic injustice drives political change. Anand Giridharadas (“Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World”) speaks with Robert Reich (“The Common Good”), to reveal how the uber wealthy are impoverishing you, yours and democracy itself. Moderated by the CEO and co-founder of Beneficial State Bank. Sponsored by Beneficial State Bank.

Ep. 12 – Facing the World Through Fantasy: An Interview with Justina Ireland

Justina Ireland interviewed by Alexandria Brown

In “Dread Nation,” Justina Ireland explores an alternate Civil War where zombie-slaying biracial teenager Jane McKeene finds herself in a desperate fight for her life. Ireland talks with author and YA librarian Alexandria Brown about how she employs planet-hopping Star Wars characters and half-god assassins to dig into complex questions about capitalism, science, racism and inequality.

Ep. 13 – Horizon: Interview with Barry Lopez

Barry Lopez interviewed by John Freeman

Taking us from pole to pole and across decades, “Horizon,” the latest by celebrated humanitarian Barry Lopez, glimmers with insights on our place in this world and on writing as a way of living and seeing. Lopez will be in conversation with John Freeman, writer, editor and prominent literary critic.

Ep. 14 – Bloodlines and Bestsellers: The Kellerman Family of Crime Writers

Faye Kellerman, Jesse Kellerman, Jonathan Kellerman, moderated by Mal Warwick

What do mega-bestselling crime writers talk about around the family dinner table? Perhaps they plot their next juicy thrillers. After all, they do some great work together: Jonathan and Jesse have a new book that Stephen King calls “brilliant, page-turning fiction,” and Faye and Jonathan co-wrote the New York Times bestseller “Double Homicide.” Meet this family of mystery masters.

Ep. 15 – Courage in Publishing in an Age of Political Polarization

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Jane Ciabattari, John Freeman, Carlos Lozada, Michael Naumann, Emily Nemens, moderated by Cherilyn Parsons

This roundtable includes the New York Times Ethicist columnist, a former National Book Critics Circle president, Freeman’s literary journal editor, a 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning critic from The Washington Post, a former German secretary of culture, and The Paris Review’s editor. With support from “Wunderbar Together,” initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).

Ep. 16 – Writing Climate: Literature of the Anthropocene

Charlie Jane Anders, Cai Emmons, Brenda Shaughnessy, moderated by David Wallace-Wells

The 20th century brought us “1984” and “Brave New World” as harbingers of terrifying social and technological change. In the 21st century, we have bold and urgent climate literature. Hear from the talented authors bringing us these stories, moderated by the former deputy editor of The Paris Review.

Ep. 17 – Writer to Writer: Lacy Johnson and Carmen Maria Machado

Lacy Johnson and Carmen Maria Machado, moderated by Lise Quintana

Carmen Maria Machado, National Book Award finalist and author of “Her Body and Other Parties” and the forthcoming memoir “In the Dream House,” sits down with Lacy Johnson, author of “The Other Side” and “The Reckonings,” which was hailed by The Millions as “a collection that converses with itself and the reader, asking us to question our beliefs and our roles in a system that perpetuates violence.” The two discuss how they navigate their way through the thorny narrative terrain of abuse, discovering agency and power in the process. Sponsored by Zoetic Press; also with the support of Women Lit members.

Ep. 18 – Writer to Writer: Joyce Carol Oates and André Alexis

André Alexis and Joyce Carol Oates, moderated by Lise Quintana

Winner of the prestigious Windham-Campbell prize for his body of work, Trinidad-born and Ottawa-raised André Alexis sits down with National Book Award and National Humanities Medal winner, and author of over 40 novels, Joyce Carol Oates. The pair will discuss genre-bending, world-building and their shared obsession with storytelling. With the support of the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco/ Silicon Valley and Zoetic Press.

Ep. 19 – Writer to Writer: Ishmael Reed and Morgan Parker

Morgan Parker and Ishmael Reed, moderated by Ismail Muhammad

Join this cross-generational conversation between two dynamic Black American writers and cultural critics exploring the history and future of the American literary landscape. The legendary Ishmael Reed, Macarthur Genius Fellow, founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, and author of over 30 books including his newest “Conjugating Hindi,” sits down with rising literary star Morgan Parker, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, Pushcart Prize winner, and author of the new poetry collection “Magical Negro.” Sponsored by Zoetic Press.

Ep. 20 – Writer to Writer: Esi Edugyan and Tayari Jones

Esi Edugyan and Tayari Jones, moderated by Caille Millner

These novelists have received considerable praise, including a top ten nod from the New York Times and an Oprah’s Book Club pick. Edugyan’s magical realism explores slavery and freedom, and Jones depicts a modern marriage wrenched apart by a discriminatory American justice system. With the support of the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, She Writes Press and Zoetic Press.

Ep. 21 – Which Side Are You On? Loyalty in Fiction

Christian Kiefer, Lauren Wilkinson, Takis Würger, moderated by Frances Dinkespiel

These authors create worlds where secrets bubble just under the surface and protagonists must ask themselves who to believe and who to blame. With the support of “Wunderbar Together,” initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI); the Goethe- Institut San Francisco and “Books First.”

Ep. 22 – Seeking Connection: Literature from Germany and Switzerland

Dorothee Elmiger, Nora Krug, Katja Petrowskaja, Takis Würger, moderated by Sabine Kieselbach

Four distinct voices from Germany and Switzerland explore these questions in their work, all bestsellers in Europe. Discover these new voices in translation, one of the most exciting areas in literature today. With the support of the initiative “Wunderbar Together,“ initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI); the Goethe-Institut San Francisco; Goethe-Institut’s translation support program “Books First”; also supported by the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco and Pro Helvetia.

Ep. 23 – Writing Irish

Catherine Ryan Howard, Mike McCormack, Emilie Pine, moderated by Rosemary Graham

From the little island with the big reach: Hear from Mike Mc- Cormack with his acclaimed third novel “Solar Bones,” Catherine Ryan Howard and her debut propulsive thriller “Distress Signals” and Emilie Pine with her searching “Notes to Self.” With the support of Culture Ireland.

Ep. 24 – Writer to Writer: John Freeman and Geir Gulliksen

Geir Gulliksen and John Freeman

Two bestselling authors who are also top editors and critics come together to discuss their writing, the editing process, the state of the publishing industry in the U.S. and Europe, and translation. Geir Gulliksen is among Norway’s leading novelists; his latest is “The Story of a Marriage,” a searing novel about a man who attempts to empathetically understand his wife’s infidelity. John Freeman is one of today’s preeminent literary critics who also publishes literary nonfiction, much of it focused passionately on social justice issues, as well as poetry.

Ep. 25 – University of San Francisco MFA in Writing Presents: Impossible Choices and Unspeakable Acts

Kirstin Chen, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Nayomi Munaweera, moderated by Beth Nguyen

These novelist-teachers from the University of San Francisco MFA in Writing program dig into the challenges of writing characters haunted by their pasts. They share the narrative tools they use to push their characters to the very edge and keep the reader turning the page. Sponsored by the University of San Francisco MFA in Writing program.

Ep. 26 – A Conversation with Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones interviewed by Brooke Warner

Tayari Jones can “touch us soul to soul with her words,” said Oprah, who dubbed Jones’ newest novel a Book Club pick for 2018. In her work, Jones takes the scars of the American South, including traumas around wrongful incarceration, and rubs them raw. She is interviewed by Brooke Warner of She Writes Press. Sponsored by She Writes Press; also with the support of Women Lit members.

Ep. 27 – San Francisco State University MFA Program Presents: Who’s Got The Power?

Nona Caspers, May-lee Chai, Michael David Lukas, moderated by Carolina De Robertis

Let’s talk about power: who has it, how it flows and how it shapes the stories we write in overt and hidden ways. Novelists from the San Francisco State University MFA program investigate how power shows up in their work and in their own writing practices. Sponsored by the San Francisco State University MFA Program.

Ep. 28 – Queer Poetics

Franny Choi, Tommy Pico, Sam Sax, Brenda Shaughnessy, moderated by Ari Banias

Franny Choi (“Soft Science”), Tommy Pico (“Junk”), Brenda Shaughnessy (“The Octopus Museum”) and Sam Sax (“Bury It”) bring us genre-bending work as playful as it is subversive. Bursting with questions and contradictions that resist hegemony at every turn, these poets are queering the canon one poem at a time.

Ep. 29 – Prophet of Freedom: Frederick Douglass

2019 Pulitzer Prize winner David Blight interviewed by Otis R. Taylor Jr.

Join David Blight, 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner, American history scholar and author of the new, definitive biography “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” a Top Ten Book of 2018 by the New York Times. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Otis R. Taylor Jr. interviews Blight and helps uncover this towering figure that Blight calls “thoroughly and beautifully human.”

Ep. 30 – A Celebration of The Paris Review

Franny Choi, R.O. Kwon, Kiese Laymon, Emily Nemens, moderated by Christian Kiefer

Known for promoting new talent alongside established voices, The Paris Review publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic literature, interviews and more in its bound quarterly issues and online Paris Review Daily. We’re joined by its new editor in a roundtable led by the magazine’s West Coast editor along with contributors. Co-presented with The Paris Review.

Ep. 31 – Not So Polite After All: Canadian Writers Challenge the Status Quo

André Alexis, Esi Edugyan, Sheila Heti, moderated by Omar El Akkad

Award-winning Canadian writers converge on one stage to recount their adventures in literary risk-taking and rule-breaking. Hear from Esi Edugyan (“Washington Black”), Sheila Heti (“Motherhood”) and André Alexis (“Days By Moonlight”). With the support of the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco/Silicon Valley.

Ep. 32 – Nordic Noir

Stefan Ahnhem, Jonas Bonnier, Kjell Ola Dahl, Ragnar Jonasson, Jenny Rogneby, moderated by Randal Brandt

One of the Festival’s most popular sessions is back, featuring some of Scandinavia’s most scintillating mystery writers. With the support of Iceland Naturally, the Icelandic Literature Center, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the Consulate General of Sweden in San Francisco, SWEA San Francisco, the Norway House Foundation and NORLA. With ASL interpreter.

Ep. 33 – No Happy Endings, No Easy Answers: Seeking Truth Through Trauma

Lacy Johnson, Devi Laskar, Kiese Laymon, moderated by Sonya Shah

How do we reckon with what haunts us most? These writers pick apart trauma to understand its source, pushing past reductive conclusions and condemnations in pursuit of a fuller truth. Moderated by associate professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and a facilitator of restorative justice. Sponsored by the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Ep. 34 – Human Face: Literature That Brings Human Rights To Life

Atia Abawi, Aaron Bobrow-Strain, Eliot Pattison, moderated by Clara Long

Storytelling brings humanity to the headlines. Journalist Atia Abawi depicts a young boy who must escape from war-torn Syria. Aaron Bobrow-Strain follows an undocumented teen mom at a militarized border. Eliot Pattison concludes his mystery series set in Tibet, which he writes so readers can “understand what it feels like to witness an armed policeman assault a praying monk.” Moderated by Human Rights Watch researcher Clara Long.

Ep. 35 – Critic’s Choice: Three Young 21st Century Writers Rocking the Literary World

Jamel Brinkley, R.O. Kwon, Namwali Serpell, moderated by Jane Ciabattari

The former president of the National Book Critics Circle talks with Bay Area authors you won’t want to miss: a National Book Award finalist for a poignant collection of short stories, a debut author who ignited the book world with her incendiary first book and another debut author who clinched the Caine Prize for African writing.

Ep. 36 – The Business of Brutality: Slavery and the Foundations of Capitalism

2019 Pulitzer Prize winner David Blight, Stephanie Jones-Rogers, Caitlin Rosenthal, moderated by Jennifer D. King

Look around. How much of our infrastructure — from roads and bridges to factories and food supplies — was built on the backs of American slaves? Three writer-researchers examine how the brutal history of slavery laid the foundation of American capitalism and shaped today’s racial and economic inequality. Blight just won the the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Frederick Douglass. Sponsored by the Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation.

Ep. 37 – A Conversation with Literary Legend Ann Beattie

Ann Beattie interviewed by Carol Edgarian

Ann Beattie is known for casting a gimlet eye on her generation’s ambivalence and ambition. “A Wonderful Stroke of Luck,” her 21st book, explores the complicated relationship between a charismatic teacher and his students and the secrets people keep from those they love. She’ll talk with her friend Carol Edgarian, author, publisher and cofounder of Narrative. With the support of Women Lit Members.

Ep. 38 – A Bird’s Eye View: Attention, Observation, Birdwatching, and the Fine Art of Doing Nothing

Tim Dee, Jenny Odell, Jérémie Royer, moderated by Dan Brekke

If we let them, natural spaces and creatures can help us slow down, notice and reflect on modern life. These authors come to us from England, Oakland and France to explore the wonders that acts of attention can bring. With the support of Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States

Ep. 39 – American Prison: Interview with Shane Bauer

Shane Bauer interviewed by John Diaz

After being detained in a notorious Iranian prison, Shane Bauer returned to journalism and took on an astonishing assignment: to go undercover as a guard in a private prison in Louisiana. His book “American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment” was one of President Obama’s favorite books of 2018. Sponsored by Mother Jones Magazine.

Ep. 40 – The Legacy of Adrienne Rich and the Shape of our Feminist Future

Jill Bialosky, Aya de Leon, Susan Griffin, Nell Painter, Morgan Parker, moderated by Sandra Gilbert

An early proponent of intersectionality, Adrienne Rich’s ideas have profoundly shaped feminism. In celebration of “Essential Essays,” a new collection of Rich’s work edited by poetscholar Sandra Gilbert, join Rich’s friends, colleagues, literary and scholarly descendents and longtime editor as they pay homage to Rich’s legacy. Sponsored by Reed Schmidt.

Ep. 41 – Mystery and Tragedy in Tibet: Interview with Bestselling Author Eliot Pattison

Eliot Pattison interviewed by Cherilyn Parsons

Eliot Pattison’s work, which uses the lens of mystery fiction to illuminate the harsh treatment of Tibetans under Chinese rule, has earned him both literary and humanitarian honors. Pattison joins us upon the publication of the final book in the bestselling Inspector Shan Tao Yun series.