Writers on a New England Stage

Margaret Atwood

Sep 26, 2013
Courtesy the Lavin Agency

Margaret Atwood’s novels are imaginative and  satirical, and her post-apocalyptic predictions eerily accurate. Atwood has just finished her Maddaddam trilogy, set after a bio-engineered plague has wiped out a wantonly consumerist America governed by corporations.

Atwood talks about her latest novel, and then sits down for a conversation and questions from the audience for this edition of Writers On A New England Stage, a co-production of NHPR and The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

News of author Elmore Leonard's death hit a lot of people hard, not only fans of the hard-boiled writer, but also writers, who spent the day on social media posting and sharing lessons they'd learned from Leonard's prose. Back in 2007, Elmore Leonard joined Laura Knoy for Writers On A New England Stage, a co-production of NHPR and The Music Hall. You can listen to that program from our archives right here.

John Irving

Aug 20, 2013
Kevin Flynn for NHPR

From the youth spent at Philips Exeter Academy that pervades his body of work, through his studies with Kurt Vonnegut at the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop – known for producing authors the like of Pulitzer winners John Cheever and Philip Roth - John Winslow Irving has emerged as a true literary heavyweight, distinctly American of voice, and one of the most influential cultural exports to come out of New Hampshire.

Joseph Ellis

Jul 3, 2013
Courtesy of The Music Hall

“As usual, Ellis combines powerful narrative with convincing analysis. His tale of the crucial summer of 1776 shows how political and military events wove together to create a new nation. Read this book and understand how America was born.” –Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

Carl Hiaasen

Jun 26, 2013
David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

The #1 New York Times bestselling author is back doing what he does best: spinning a wickedly funny, fiercely pointed Florida tale in which the greedy, the corrupt, and the degraders of pristine land get their comeuppance in a mordantly ingenious, diabolically entertaining fashion.

Hiaasen joined us in Portsmouth to talk about Bad Monkey and his other books on Friday, June 14th.  First, he shared his thoughts on storm-chasers, Hollywood monkeys, and what not to do with a dead raccoon.  Then he sat down with Virginia Prescott for a great interview about Florida scam artists, his foray into YA, and the twisted true stories behind his twisted fictional plots.

Writers on a New England Stage is a co-production of New Hampshire Public Radio and The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

Dave Barry

Feb 21, 2013
Monte Bohanan, The Music Hall

The Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist joins us with his first solo adult novel in over a decade – the darkly comic Insane City. The book is a riotous tale of a destination wedding gone awry with Russian gangsters, angry strippers, a pimp as big as the Death Star, a very desperate Haitian refugee on the run with her two children from some very bad men, and an eleven-foot Burmese albino python named Blossom.

It's Valentine's Day, and we're talking about love in its many forms and literary interpretations. In 2011, we sat down with Elizabeth Gilbert for writers on a New England Stage to discuss her follow up to “Eat Pray Love.” That book was a fixture on the New York Times bestseller list for more than two years and was adapted into a film starring Julia Roberts. “Committed,” picks up where that book left off, with Gilbert making peace with marriage, an institution she swore to avoid after a painful divorce.

Jared Diamond

Jan 9, 2013
David J. Murray / cleareyephoto.com

Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling author of Collapse and Guns, Germs, and Steel, takes the stage to discuss his latest foray into a field he has made his own -- a biological analysis of human history.

As senior legal analyst for CNN, staff writer for the New Yorker, and the author of The Nine, Jeffrey Toobin knows more than a few things about and more than a few people inside the United States Supreme Court.

David Murray www.cleareyephoto.com

Today, prize-winning author Salman Rushdie enjoys a life in the public eye and a literary career rife with accolades, using his work to examine the cultural connection - and disconnection -  between East and West and the history and experiences of Asian diaspora, all through the lens of magical realism.

Circumstances have not always been that way.

Chris Matthews is best known for his opinionated and combative style on his MSNBC program, "Hardball with Chris Matthews."

What's lesser known is that he's a former print journalist, was a long-time aide to Tip O'Neill, and that he grew up in an Irish Catholic family...of Republicans. All this played no small part in sewing the seeds of his admiration for a man he'd later write two books about, John F. Kennedy.

David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

Chris Cleave is a columnist for the UK's Guardian newspaper and author of Incendiary and Little Bee.

David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

Produced with Emma Ruddock

Joan Didion, one of America’s most admired writers, recorded live at the music hall in Portsmouth. 

Slouching Towards Bethlehem, her 1968 collection of non-fiction established Didion as a brilliant observer and a powerful voice in the genre that would become  “new journalism.” 

Joan Didion joins NHPR's Virginia Prescott for Writers on a New England Stage on Tuesday, June 19.

One of today’s most powerful writers joins us with her national bestseller Blue Nights, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter. Don’t miss this celebrated National Book Award winner, a “master of American prose” and her “breathtaking follow-up to The Year of Magical Thinking” (Newsweek).

(Photo courtesy the author)

Anyone who’s read Anna Quindlen’s Pulitzer Prize winning op-eds, or wildly popular  columns in the New York Times knows that she doesn’t hold back from pointed commentary on topics from politics to parenting. In the mid-nineties, Quindlen left the Times to write – so far -- ten best-selling non-fiction books and four  novels, including One True Thing, which was adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep.

David J. Murray, www.cleareyephoto.com

International bestselling author Dan Brown talks about science, religion, and life after the Da Vinci Code at a benefit performance for Writers on a New England Stage, live from the Music Hall in Portsmouth. Brown’s novels, and the films based on them, have been banned by the Catholic church, inspired college courses, and have renewed dialogue about the interplay between science and religion. Brown, the son of a mathemeticiaa and a church organist, talks about his lifelong inquiry into life’s mysteries. 

Bestselling author Erik Larson, discussing “In the Garden of Beasts” live at the Portsmouth Music Hall for the Writers on a New England Stage Series. The book is set in Berlin, 1933; the year Hitler became chancellor.

(Photo by David Murray of <a href="http://books.simonandschuster.com/Jack-Kennedy/Chris-Matthews/9781451635089" target="_blank">Clear Eye Photo</a>)

Chris Matthews is best known for his opinionated and combative style on his MSNBC program, "Hardball with Chris Matthews." What's lesser known is that he's a former print journalist, was a long-time aide to Tip O'Neill, and that he grew up in an Irish Catholic family...of Republicans. All this played no small part in sewing the seeds of his admiration for a man he'd later write two books about, John F. Kennedy. 

Author Stephen King has written more than 50 worldwide best-sellers. More than 80 feature and television film adaptations have extended King’s reach far beyond the bestsellers list, earning him the title of “Master of Horror,” and establishing him as one of the most influential writers of our age.

(Photo by The American Libary Association via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Elizabeth Gilbert reads from her new book, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Piece with Marriage, and talks about her relationship, skipping yoga in the mornings, and why Pamela Anderson is a great philosopher.

This segment was produced by Shannon Dooling.

The controversial author and self-proclaimed inventor of a new genre of literary non-fiction, Ben Mezrich's bestselling books include Bringing Down the House and The Accidental Billionaires. The first was the source for the film, 21 and the second was adapted into the Academy Award-winning movie The Social Network.

David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

David McCullough is widely known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning writing on great leaders and American politics, in books such as Truman and John Adams. In his newest work he turns his focus to Americans abroad in Nineteenth Century Paris.

In this edition of Writers on a New England Stage, McCullough reads from his newest book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, a chronicle spanning generation, and sits down for a conversation about his work, his influences, and America's age-old fascination with The City of Light.

David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

Neil Gaiman is often credited for expanding the audience for comics beyond white, teenage boys with his Sandman series. But he is also a true multi-media phenom, a filmmaker, (now) recording artist, screenwriter for the likes of Dr. Who, and prolific author, including the multi-award winning, groundbreaking novel American Gods.

Ann Patchett's new novel, State of Wonder, is topping all the big reading lists right now. She reads from the book, tells a terrifying true story about her close encounter with an anaconda, and has a blisteringly funny conversation with Virginia.

Links:

David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

Joyce Carol Oates reads from her new book, A Widow's Story, and talks about her writing life and the experience of crafting this book with Virginia Prescott.

Joseph Ellis, Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian, reads from his new book, First Family. He also talks about why the likes of Abigail and John Adams will never come again.

Links:

The bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, and Krakatoa visited the Music Hall in Portsmouth to talk about his new book, Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Disasters, Titanic Storms and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories. It’s a biography of the ocean, from its origins 195 million years ago, through centuries of discovery, trade, war, and harvest to what he calls “the forgotten ocean” of today.

Links:

<a href="http://www.cleareyephoto.com/">David J. Murray</a>

Today on Word of Mouth, a conversation with Margaret Atwood, recorded live at the Music Hall in Portsmouth as part of the “Writers on a New England Stage” series.  Virginia spoke with the award winning author of the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. They talked about pessimism, hope for the future, and learning survival skills in Canada. 

Writers on a New England Stage: Isabel Allende

May 13, 2010

Today on Word of Mouth, a conversation with Isabel Allende, live from the series. Allende is the best selling Latin-American author in the world. Beginning with her 1982 debut, House of the Spirits, Ms. Allende’s novels have been praised for their historical accuracy, deep sensuality and what critics call "magical realism." She has written 17 more books including novels, memoirs and young adult stories since she was forced to leave her native Chile. She and her family fled after a military coup toppled the presidency of her father’s cousin, Salvador Allende.

Writers on a New England Stage: Michael Lewis

Apr 9, 2010

The author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, and The Blind Side joined NHPR's Jon Greenberg at the most recent installment of Writers on a New England Stage to discuss his latest work of nonfiction, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. It's a character-rich and darkly humorous account of how the US economy “was driven over the cliff” by a collection of professionals entrenched in the financial world.

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