10-Minute Writer's Workshop

Jimmy Gutierrez / NHPR

Mario Batali is a superstar chef, restaurateur, television star and passionate advocate for simple, regional food. Also passionate about making that food more accessible, he is author or co-author of 7 cookbooks, including his most recent, Big American Cookbook.

We caught up with him before his appearance at The Music Hall for Writers on a New England Stage and asked him if his cookbook ideas pop up like a timer or simmer below the surface for a while.

Episode music by Jahzzar
Ad music by Uncanny Valleys
 

via lindywest.com

Lindy West, columnist for The Guardian, and author of How to be a Person and Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman. Lindy writes about feminism, social justice, body image, pop culture and, lately, politics.

She's a funny and original thinker, and brave. She's been a contributor on several memorable episodes of This American Life - one on "coming out" as fat, another about confronting an internet troll, one of hundreds who'd harassed her online.

Victoria Schwab... V.E. Schwab... V... the author's name depends on her audience, which, like the dark worlds she builds, is a well-thought out design.

Ms. Schwab, we'll say, burst onto the scene in 2011 with The Near Witch. A dozen books later, adult, young adult and middle grade readers have followed her into supernatural worlds, sinister scenarios and richly formed fantasy worlds.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Ottessa Moshfegh says she writes to explore why people do weird things. The daughter of a Croatian mother and Iranian father, she was a serious piano student who knew she didn't want to be a pianist when she felt the call to write - and not just write, but be bold.

We spoke to her before her reading at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass.

Episode Music: Kevin MacLeod, "Trio for Piano, Violin and Viola"
Credit Music: Uncanny Valleys, "Curious or Disconcerting"

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Caitlin Moran is the best-selling author of How to Be a Woman, Moranthology, and columnist for the Times of London. She and her sister developed and write 'raised by wolves" --a British television series loosely based on their experience in a family of ten growing up in a tiny subsidized flat in the English midlands. She is also a mother of two, an unapologetic feminist, and really, really funny. Caitlin Moran is now out with Moranifesto, her second collection of columns and essays.

Johnathan Lethem is the best-selling author of Gun, with Occasional Music, Fortress of Solitude, and other novels, including the Naitonal Book Critics' Circle award-winning Motherless Brooklyn. He's know for reanimating and remixing genres - hard-boiled crime novels, post-apocalyptic science fiction, superhero comics and even technicolor westerns. His most recent novel is called A Gambler's Anatomy. It's about a high-stakes competitive backgammon player and con artist - a character who, like Lethem, was raised in the bohemian Brooklyn of the 1970s.

'In Maine, when we say something is "wicked good" – we really mean it.'

That's how LL Bean describes their Wicked Good Slippers, and how we describe Jeff Ryan, who for decades wrote Bean's catalog copy. We spoke to him about finding the story in everyday objects and the tricks of the trade when it comes to copy writing.

Jeff Ryan is also the author of Appalachian Odyssey, a memoir of hiking the Appalachian Trail, bit by bit, over 28 years.

Episode music: "Auld Lang Syne" by Podington Bear
Credit music: "Joy in the Restaurant" by David Szesztay

Irish author Emma Donoghue may be best known for Room,  her novel written in the voice of a young boy confined with his mother in a single room.  It was nominated for a Man Booker prize and made into an Oscar-winning film, for which she wrote the screenplay. Her most recent novel is The Wonder, about a "fasting girl" in 1850s Ireland.

Virginia Prescott

Tom Gauld -- a cartoonist, illustrator of comics and covers for the New Yorker and The Believer. His weekly cartoon about the arts for The Guardian newspaper is a wry, often deadpan favorite among writers. He is extremely prolific, author of more than a dozen books of comics, including You're Just Jealous of My Jetpack and most recently Mooncop.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

A National Book Award winner, Pulitzer-Prize nominee, Guggenheim fellow, and winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant, Colson Whitehead's new book, The Underground Railroad, was one of the most anticipated works of fiction this year.

Virginia caught up with him backstage at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire before a reading with novelist Ben Winters hosted of Gibson’s Bookstore.

David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

It’s our 30th episode, this time with the phenomenally successful Jodi Picoult.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

In this episode of the 10-Minute Writer’s Workshop, singer-songwriter, musician and novelist Josh Ritter – who might say writer first, musician second. It was a song that spun into his 2011 novel Bright's Passage. Josh Ritter’s songs draw deeply from the narrative traditions of American and Scottish folk music he studied after dropping out of the neuroscience program at Oberlin.

Legal decisions are rarely read for pleasure. And though read, re-read, excerpted and quoted, they are not always "quotable." Clocking in at an average of just under 5000 words, they can sound jargony, pompous and bone-dry in the wrong hands. But what about the right hands? Today's 10-Minute Writers Workshop asks an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States about what goes into writing an opinion.

Ric Kallaher Photography

The novelist, short story writer and essayist Cynthia Ozick's best known piece of writing is called The Shawl, a brutal, phantasmal story of a woman and two children marching to a Nazi concentration camp. The Holocaust and Jewish identity are recurring topics in Ozick's fiction and criticism. Growing up in the Bronx, she was called Christ-killer, and humiliated for not singing Christmas carols at school.

(R) Colson Whitehead/ Photo Credit Madeleine Whitehead, (R) Ben Winters/ Photo Credit Nicola Goode

 

New Hampshire Public Radio in partnership with Gibson's Bookstore and Capitol Center for the Arts, is pleased to present Colson Whitehead (The Underground Railroad) and Ben Winters (The Last Policeman) on stage in conversation at the Spotlight Cafe at Capitol Center for the Arts.

Karen Kenney

Andre Dubus III's memoir Townie told the story of his violent childhood on the wrong side of the tracks. Writing was his way out, and he's made more than good, with multiple NYT bestsellers, an Oprah’s Book Club pick, and an Oscar-nominated film adaptation (for his novel The House of Sand and Fog). And he gets out there, as a public speaker and writing instructor for graduate programs, seminars and retreats. We caught up with him at New Hampshire Writers’ Project's annual Writers’ Day.

© 2014 Sharona Jacobs Photography

Kelly Link is one of a handful of writers to manage to be wondrous, fantastical and ominous at the same time. As Kirkus says, her work is “like Kafka hosting Saturday Night Live, mixing humor with existential dread.” Her most recent collection, Get in Trouble, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction.  She and her husband manage Small Beer Press.

Rich Fleischman

Essayist, novelist, columnist, sportswriter and former ethicist for the New York Times Magazine, Chuck Klosterman has got a wildly original voice. That makes sense for a guy who's written about glam metal bands in North Dakota, or whether you should hire a detective to trail your spouse. He's author of several best-sellers including Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs and most recently But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past.

David J. Murray, Cleareyephoto.com

Anyone who's ever been an awkward adolescent knows that for decades now, dog-eared copies of Judy Blume's books have been passed around school playgrounds like secrets, or read under the covers after lights out. Her best known books - Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Deenie, Blubber, and Forever - offered young readers plain language and shame -free stories about periods, bullying, sexual urges and, even 'going all the way'.

Sara Plourde, NHPR

Donald Hall is now 87 and no longer writing poetry, a pursuit he calls "a young man's game" which takes "too much testosterone." But Hall, former Poet Laureate of both New Hampshire and the United States, long ago cemented his place in literary history. In this episode of the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop, Virginia and Sara traveled to Hall's home in Wilmot, NH, to speak to him - getting lost along the way, and, ultimately, finding themselves right at home.

The bestselling author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - and bonafide Charming British Lady - Helen Simonson lets us in on her writing process, her thoughts on sunshine, and the perils of HGTV. Her latest novel, set in 1914, is The Summer Before the War.

aaronmahnke.com

A bona fide podcasting star, Aaron Mahnke has turned his love of the darker side of history into the spooky smash hit, Lore, which he researches and authors.

He's also the author of four thrillers (Grave Suspicion being his latest), a veteran of self-publishing, and handy with an 80s film reference.

Listen to the interview below.

Richard Russo is the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Empire Falls and Nobody’s Fool - both were adapted into films starring Paul Newman. He returns to the fictional working class town of North Bath for his most recent novel, Everybody's Fool.

Taylor Quimby, NHPR

As a writer, Joe Hill's family name could have given him a leg up. Instead, he chose to create his own. In this episode of the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop, we talk to Joe about his process and how he came to it, growing up in a literary home, and what he would be doing if he wasn't writing.
 
We sat down with the best-selling author just before his appearance at Writers on a New England Stage at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH, where he was discussing his latest thriller, The Fireman.
 

"Kill 'em and leave" was James Brown's commandment to his band before every show...it's also the title of a biography of the soul legend, the latest by James McBride. The National Book Award winner is also a musician and composer. We sat down with him just before his appearance at the Writers in the Loft series at the Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth, NH.
 

"Kill 'em and leave" was James Brown's commandment to his band before every show...it's also the title of a biography of the soul legend, the latest by James McBride. The National Book Award winner is also a musician and composer. We sat down with him just before his appearance at the Writers in the Loft series at the Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth, NH.
 

In this episode, married co-authors Kevin Flynn & Rebecca Lavoie. Together, they have written four true crime books, most recently Dark Heart: A True Story of Sex, Manipulation, and Murder. They are also two of the eponymous crime writers behind the podcast Crime Writers On...
 

On this episode, author, columnist and critic Olivia Laing. Her most recent work, The Lonely City, is part memoir, part searching exploration of loneliness and artists whose outsider experience inspired and fed  their creativity - from seeming social gadfly Andy Warhol to the reclusive Henry Darger. She is also the author of To the River and The Trip to Echo Spring.

Alice Dreger is a historian of science, anatomy, and medicine, known for her work studying and advocating for people born with atypical sex disorders. She famously resigned from Northwestern University in protest of academic censorship, and gained some infamy on Twitter for live-tweeting her son's sex education class. We had a delightful chat with her about her writing process in advance of the paperback release of her book, Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science.

M. Sharkey

Alexander Chee is a careful craftsman of language. As we came to find out, when we talked to him from Argot Studios in NYC, he is as measured, unassuming and thoughtful in his speech. A retiring man, who prefers to write in transient spaces, he also just so happens to have penned the most hotly anticipated literary novel of 2016 - The Queen of the Night, a sophomore work fifteen years in the making*.

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