• 2017 Podcasts

2017 Podcasts

Ep. 1 – Reality Bites: Fiction About Teens’ Real Lives

Kristin Elizabeth Clark, Kim Culbertson, Sandhya Menon, and Alexandra Sirowy, moderated by Alex Green

Four acclaimed authors who write for young adults share how they capture those unique interior worlds — the joys, the pitfalls, the intimate struggles.

Ep. 2 – Race and Resistance in the Trump Era: Fighting Words and Wisdom from The Nation and Black Lives Matter

Alicia Garza, Walter Mosley, Steve Phillips, and Joan Walsh, moderated by Mark Hertsgaard

Join some of The Nation’s finest current contributors for a fierce discussion on how to advance racial justice in today’s America. Panelists include Alicia Garza (co-founder of Black Lives Matter); Steve Phillips (founder of Democracy in Color); essayist and novelist Walter Mosley; national political correspondent Joan Walsh and investigative editor Mark Hertsgaard. Sponsored by The Nation Magazine.

Ep. 3 – Roxane Gay Takes the Stage

Roxane Gay in conversation with Rafia Zakaria

Renowned fiction writer, essayist and activist Roxane Gay casts her incisive gaze at issues of race, class and gender. Her new collection of stories is “Difficult Women.” Sponsored by The New Republic.

Ep. 4 – Activism at a Crossroads

Micah White and Becky Bond, moderated by Monika Bauerlein

Micah White (co-creator of Occupy Wall Street and author of “The End of Protest”) and Becky Bond (former senior adviser to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and co-author of “Rules for Revolutionaries”) will offer guidance for a new era of social change and activism. Sponsored by Mother Jones Magazine.

Ep. 5 – No Time Like the Present: Jack Kornfield in Conversation with Wes Nisker

Jack Kornfield, Wes Nisker

They’re longtime friends and two of America’s most respected Buddhist teachers. In a new book, Kornfield tells us we all can be happy and free right now, no matter the circumstances. Nisker (“Scoop”), also a comedian and radio host, will interrogate.

Ep. 6 – My Literary Friend: Dani Shapiro and Hannah Tinti Talk

Jack Kornfield, Wes Nisker

Art never occurs in a vacuum. Author and editor Hannah Tinti talks with bestselling author Dani Shapiro about mentorship, literary friendships and the surprising joys and hard truths of living the writer’s life. Sponsored by One Story.

Ep. 7 – Tor Books presents Science Fiction and the Resistance!

Cory Doctorow, John Scalzi, Annalee Newitz, and Charlie Jane Anders

Join Charlie Jane Anders, Cory Doctorow, Annalee Newitz and John Scalzi as they kick ass, take names and decide who goes down first, and hardest, in an epic discussion about new directions in science fiction and fantasy.

Ep. 8 – Walter Mosley — Walking the Wild Side

Walter Mosley in conversation with Laurie R. King

With 55 critically acclaimed books, Mosley is one of America’s best-known and most beloved living writers across many genres. Learn how Mosley crafts his trademark accessibility and creates narratives that both entertain and instruct. Sponsored by Northern California Chapter, Mystery Writers of America.

Ep. 9 – Witness and Testimony: The Past and Present of Native America

William Bauer, Layli Long Soldier, T. J. Stiles, and Louis Warren, moderated by Greg Sarris

What stories and lessons from Native American history illuminate the present day for Native Americans?

Ep. 10 – Paul Hawken’s Drawdown: Real Solutions for Climate Change

Paul Hawken in conversation with Mark Hertsgaard

Hawkens’ “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” shows a realistic path to roll back global warming within thirty years. Come learn how humanity has the means at hand to address this potentially devastating threat.

Ep. 11 – Our Trump, Our Television, Our Bad Luck

David Thomson

A lecture. A warning. A lamentation. A diatribe. From the renowned film critic, historian and author of more than 20 books, including the recent “Television: A Biography.”

Ep. 12 – Let There Be Laughter: Michael Krasny On Stage

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny illuminates a culture and teaches laughter as he delves into the themes, topics and forms of Jewish humor. Meet the man you listen to on the radio four mornings a week.

Ep. 13 – Wanderlust: Essaying Forth

Oddný Eir and Geoff Dyer, interviewed by Ethan Nosowsky

In Eir’s “Land of Love and Ruins” and Dyer’s “White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World,” these two genre-defying authors explore the meaning of travel and pilgrimage as well as the connections between imagination and reality, place and identity, story and myth. Sponsored by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and the Icelandic Literature Center.

Ep. 14 – New Irish Fiction

Colin Barrett, Paul Murray, and John Toomey, moderated by Rosemary Graham

Why does this small, rocky island have such outsize influence on world literature? Who is coming along in the footsteps of James Joyce, Frank O’Connor and Edna O’Brien? Meet three members of an exciting new generation of Irish fiction writers. Sponsored by Culture Ireland.

Ep. 15 – The Ferocity of Love

Sylvia Brownrigg, Edan Lepucki, Shanthi Sekaran, moderated by Barbara Lane

How far would you go for someone you love? These authors take provocative looks at relationships between parents, children, lovers and friends.

Ep. 16 – Cuba!

Cristina Garcia, Rachel Kushner, and Achy Obejas, moderated by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

For decades Cuba has been an American obsession, a political flashpoint and a forbidden paradise. Four writers — two from Cuba and two other experts for whom Cuba is passionate muse — explore Cuba yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Ep. 17 – Thrillers: Secrets of the Craft

John Lescroart, Thomas Rydahl and Bradley Spinelli, moderated by Keith Raffel

Three bestselling authors reveal the essential ingredients for writing a captivating thriller. Sponsored by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the Danish Arts Foundation, the Royal Danish Embassy, and Mystery Writers of America, Northern California Chapter.

Ep. 18 – The Mastery of Mystery: Making a Great Whodunit

Wendy Hornsby, Ellen Kirschman, and Vidar Sundstøl, moderated by Steve Hockensmith

Four established authors take the mystery out of writing mysteries in this lively conversation spanning the globe. Whether inspired by real life, folklore, deeply-hidden family secrets or humor, these mystery writers will clue you in. Sponsored by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Mystery Writers of America, Northern California Chapter, the Norway House Foundation, and NORLA – Norwegian Literature Abroad.

Ep. 19 – Gentrification, Evictions and the State of Our Cities

Paul Madonna and Peter Moskowitz, moderated by Narda Zacchino

Journalist Peter Moskowitz (“How to Kill a City”) and artist Paul Madonna (“All Over Coffee”) uncover the forces behind gentrification evictions, how this phenomenon changes cities and how to fight back.

Ep. 20 – Feminist Activism through Popular Fiction

Aya de Leon, Meg Elison, Kate Raphael, and Sarai Walker, moderated by Claire Light

In today’s popular culture, “strong female lead” characters and “difficult women” are more common than ever before. But does that make a story feminist? What about the intersectional feminist landscapes of their stories?

Ep. 21 – One Story Magazine Talks Short Stories!

Jim Shepard, Karen Shepard, and Naomi J. Williams, with Hannah Tinti

Short stories are, in the words of Lorrie Moore, “second to none in power and efficiency.” Hannah Tinti, novelist and cofounder of the literary short story magazine One Story, explores the American short story with three One Story authors. Sponsored by One Story.

Ep. 22 – Writing from Africa

Lesley Nneka Arimah, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, and Sarah Ladipo Manyika, moderated by Aaron Bady

Where is Africa in world literature? Three authors discuss what it means to tell their own stories, in their own words and languages, and the journey their work takes to arrive in print, at home and abroad. Sponsored by Transit Books.

Ep. 23 – Lindy West Takes the Stage

Lindy West

Two years ago, Lindy West’s confrontation with a nasty troll showed the world how to fight back via technology. With her debut memoir, “Shrill,” West shares her truths about #ShoutYourAbortion!, being a large woman, being loud, being a feminist and being funny.

Ep. 24 – On Power

Dacher Keltner

Many have assumed that acquiring power involves force and manipulation. But psychologist Dacher Keltner turns those notions on their heads in “The Power Paradox,” arguing that empathy and humility are far more influential.

Ep. 25 – Writers and Artists Whose Books You Love, Part 1: A Picture Book Extravaganza for Kids and Their Adults

Candace Fleming, Cornelia Funke, Gianna Marino, Innosanto Nagara, Dashka Slater, and Eric Rohmann, moderated by Walter Mayes

Calling both children and adults to celebrate the joy of reading. No one’s ever too old to read a great story — even if it’s meant for kids. These stellar picture-book creators share key moments and inspirations from their journeys as visual storytellers.

Ep. 26 – All About Cornelia Funke: Meet and Hear the Beloved Author of Inkheart, The Reckless Series, Lilly and Finn and More

Cornelia Funke

Join beloved children’s author Cornelia Funke, the creator of “Inkheart,” the Reckless series, “Lilly and Finn,” and her latest, “The Book No One Ever Read.” Take part in the debut of this picture book that is sure to become a classic. In collaboration with the Goethe-Institute.

Ep. 27 – A Journey into the Life of Rumi

Brad Gooch talks with Michael David Lukas

Brad Gooch, bestselling author of “Smash Cut,” “Flannery” and “City Poet,” brilliantly brings Rumi to life, exploring his time and place and reminding us how poetry transcends both. Sponsored by Society for Art and Cultural Heritage of India (SACHI).

Ep. 28 – Cleve Jones: Rising Up

Cleve Jones, interviewed by Scott James

Mentored by LGBT rights pioneer Harvey Milk, Jones is the author of “When We Rise,” which inspired a recent ABC mini-series. Hear Jones’ personal telling of nearly four decades of activism at the heart of the gay rights movement.

Ep. 29 – Collecting the Pieces: Fiction and Trauma

Oddný Eir, Jonas Hassen Khemiri, and Katie Kitamura, moderated by Stephen Sparks

How do we process loss? What role does memory play in mourning? The novelists gathered here — from Iceland, Sweden, the United States and Norway — all use extraordinary restraint to create great emotional impact. Sponsored by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the Icelandic Literature Center and the Literary Hub (lithub.com).

Ep. 30 – Hidden Stories: Three Fiction Writers on Telling the Truth

Vanessa Hua, Shanthi Sekaran, and Esme Weijun Wang, moderated by Sandhya Dirks

Behind appearances are stories. People are harboring secrets in Shanthi Sekaran’s “Lucky Boy.” A former celebrity is on the run in Vanessa Hua’s “Deceit and Other Possibilities.” Characters cope with mental illness in Esme Wang’s “The Border of Paradise.”

Ep. 31 – The Long 60s: The Counterculture’s Influence in Contemporary America

Mat Callahan, Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, David Talbot, and Fred Turner, moderated by Peter Richardson

The Summer of Love brought us sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, but it was also a decade of extremes and radical cultural change that, in many ways, mirrors today. Join historians and journalists for an explosive look at how counterculture meets cyberculture. Sponsored by Reed Schmidt.

Ep. 32 – First Books: What It Took to Get There

Colin Barrett, Jonas Lüscher, Pajtim Statovci, Aura Xilonen, moderated by Joan Frank

There’s a book in all of us, but what does it take to get it out into the world? Hear four successful authors’ expert advice. They come from Ireland, Switzerland, Finland and Mexico, and all saw publication in their home countries and the United States. Sponsored by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco, Culture Ireland, FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange, Finlandia Foundation National, Pro Helvetia, the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco and the State of Jalisco.

Ep. 33 – Absurd and Hilarious: Stories About Money

Jonas Lüscher, Paul Murray, and Doree Shafrir, moderated by J.K. Dineen

Jonas Lüscher (author of the German Book Award-nominated “Barbarian Spring”), Paul Murray (“The Mark and the Void,” a novel about a financial crisis), and Doree Shafrir (“Startup,” a novel about a $600 million idea) will talk turkey on making money funny. Sponsored by the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco, Culture Ireland, Pro Helvetia, and The Jewish Community Center of the East Bay.

Ep. 34 – Fiction at the Edges: On Trauma, Displacement and Loss

Krys Lee in conversation with Elizabeth Rosner

Debut novelist Krys Lee, in “How I Became A North Korean,” focuses on individuals in desperate circumstances. Lee’s characters, forced into exile, must find ways to retain their humanity in the midst of aching upheaval. Berkeley author Elizabeth Rosner talks with Lee, considering the multitude of ways that literature can address modern life’s most urgent and painful challenges. Sponsored by Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea).

Ep. 35 – Imagining the Other: Using Fantasy to Build Empathy

Randy Henderson and Erika Lewis, moderated by Ellen Klages

You’ve no doubt heard the adage, “Write what you know,” but what if you want to write about aliens, dragons, wizards or people from an entirely different culture? Three writers debunk the myth that “knowing” trumps all.

Ep. 36 – Living in Two Worlds: Crossing Borders and Identities to Create Home

Lesley Nneka Arimah, Laleh Khadivi, Carolina De Robertis, and Pajtim Statovci, moderated by Michael Holtmann

Border-crossers and novelists Lesley Nneka Arimah (“What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky”), Laleh Khadivi (“A Good Country”) and Pajtim Statovci (“My Cat Yugoslavia”) contemplate a life between the lines. Sponsored by the Center for the Art of Translation, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange, and Finlandia Foundation National.

Ep. 37 – Forces of Nature

Susan Griffin and Starhawk

Susan Griffin celebrates the 40th anniversary reissue of her feminist classic “Woman and Nature.”

Ep. 38 – When the Back Breaks: An Investigative Reporter Reveals All on the Back Pain Industry

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

Investigative journalist Cathryn Jakobson Ramin (“Carved in Sand”) took a look at the reality of spine medicine. The results were not pretty. She explains what works, what doesn’t and how to get on the road to recovery.

Ep. 39 – How to Speak Up: A Story of Courage

Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi

In 1941, young Fred Korematsu refused to be forced into the United States’ Japanese internment camps. Atkins and Yogi share Fred’s courageous story, how he made the United States a fairer place for all and how you too can speak up for what matters.

Ep. 40 – The State of Cannabis

Emily Brady and Beau Kilmer, in conversation with David Downs

Marijuana expert Beau Kilmer and author Emily Brady will divulge the latest in pot policy and explore whether California’s hopes for a smooth transition should remain, well, high. Moderated by David Downs, Cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Ep. 41 -When Reality Meets Science Fiction

Cory Doctorow, Meg Elison, Zachary Mason, moderated by Annalee Newitz

Large-scale, far-in-the-future stories tend to get most the glory in the sci-fi canon. But what happens when reality already feels like science fiction? Like George Orwell’s ‘1984,’ near-future narratives exploit current technology, politics, and fears to explore what life could be like in 10 years, one year, or even a hour. Our panelists consider how to predict the tantalizing possibility of what might be.