author interview | KUOW News and Information

author interview

Author Jonathan Kauffman.
Courtesy of Jonathan Kauffman

Carob. Some see it as a heroic stand-in for chocolate. Others, like one Twitter wag, see it as "chalky nonsense." Whatever your thoughts, it's a food that evokes a strong response. 

Author Shaun Scott.
Photo by Christopher Grunder

Filmmaker, author and professional millennial Shaun Scott has a bone to pick about participation trophies. They're just one of many broad brushes with which millennials are painted. But, Scott reminds us, millennials weren't the ones giving out the trophies. The parents were.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Underground Railroad” is the story of a young slave named Cora who escapes from a Georgia cotton plantation.

Washington state poets laureate Claudia Castro Luna and Tod Marshall.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

When you're the poet laureate of Washington state, you log a lot of time on the road. "I got a new car for the job," laughs Tod Marshall. It came to him with 12,000 miles on it, and is now hovering around 57,000 as he hangs up his traveling hat.

Author Ijeoma Oluo.
Photo by Nikki Closser, with permission of the author.

So, you want to talk about race.

But... do you? Reallllly? 

For most people, the real answer is no. 

Shaun Scott (nametag misspelled)  and Hanna Brooks Olsen, holding the coffees they chose to buy instead of putting down payments on a home. Michael Hobbes has a policy of keeping his face off of the internet. Overhead sparkles are complete happenstance.
KUOW Photo/Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong

If you believe the New York Times, or watch CNN, or have read a thinkpiece between now and 2007 — you already know the bad news: The world is ending. Millennials, the generation born between 1982 and 2000, have arrived to ruin #allthethings, blanketing the landscape with a thick carpet of Snapchat filters, participation trophies, and avocado toast. What does this, the most entitled cohort to ever walk the earth, expect from life? It might not be what you think.

David Sedaris, signing one of more than 8,000 tip-ins. This is the hard labor that goes into your signed author copy.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

David Sedaris was angry.

He was angry because he had to sign his name on 8,000 blank sheets of paper. He was angry because he already signs his name at readings all over the world — and now his publisher was making him sign his name on thousands of “tip-ins” to be bound into copies of his latest book. 

The Seattle skyline, seen across the water.
Flickr Photo/Shelly Provost (CC BY 2.0)/

Essayist Elissa Washuta spent last summer in the Fremont Bridge. The old control room was turned into an office, which allowed her to sit over the water and write. Elissa is descended from the Cowlitz and Cascade people. The longer she looked at the shipping canal, the less she could separate it from the displacement of the Duwamish people in service of progress and growth.

Seattle is in a new wave of growth, with similar implications for those who were here before, including the Coast Salish peoples. On a visit back to Seattle from Columbus, Ohio, Elissa joined Bill Radke for a conversation on the flow of water – and people – in and out of this city.

Early improvisational greats Elaine May and Mike Nichols.

According to author Sam Wasson, it is. He sat down with Bill Radke to talk about his new book, "Improv Nation." The book explores what Wasson calls a great American art. Improv was founded by a social worker named Viola Spolin, who used it to help connect immigrant kids who didn’t share a language or culture. From there it gave us Nichols and May, Second City, and the early careers of many comic luminaries.

Reporter, broadcaster, and author Dan Rather in the KUOW studios on December 8, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Dan Rather knows exactly what question he’d ask President Donald Trump in an interview: What are you so afraid of?

Rather told Bill Radke he’d start this way: “Mr. President, of what are you afraid? You have indicated by word and deed that you are very afraid of something."

Astronaut Scott Kelly has been in orbit longer than any other person in history.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Astronaut Scott Kelly has been in orbit longer than any other person in history: more than 500 days in total. During that time, he stockpiled lots of interesting information and experiences, some of which are included in his book, “Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery.”

Are you a fan or a superfan?

Apr 13, 2017

Jeannie Yandel talks with Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron Glazer about what it takes to be a superfan. Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron Glazer are co-authors of the book "Superfandom: How our Obsessions Are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are."

Courtesy of Libby Lewis Photography

There are many things to know about Roxane Gay. She grew up in Nebraska. Her family is of Haitian descent. She came to critical attention in 2014 for her best-selling collection of essays “Bad Feminist.” She teaches creative writing at Purdue University. She is the first black woman hired to write a Marvel Comics series, “Wakanda.” She kind of owns Twitter. But perhaps the most crucial thing you need to know about Roxane Gay is that she is awed by and in love with her craft, fiction writing especially, in difficult and delightful ways.

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

Today the Sugars talk parenting and mental health. In this letter, a new father who struggles with bipolar disorder wonders if his young daughter is in danger of adopting his "self-hating" feelings.

Dear Sugars,

Ten years ago, Stephenie Meyer put a twist on the whole boy-meets-girl thing.

In her young adult novel Twilight, girl meets vampire and, later, werewolf. The supernatural romance between Bella and Edward sparked a saga that includes four best-selling books translated into more than 50 languages and five blockbuster movies.

Joyce Carol Oates at Eastern Washington University's Get Lit! festival in 2013.
Flickr Photo/Spokane Focus (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds interviews author Joyce Carol Oates about her latest novel, "The Sacrifice." It’s a fictionalized account based off the 1987 episode of Tawana Brawley, who falsely accused six men of rape. 

Author Sharma Shields with her new novel, "The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac."
Screenshot from YouTube

Jeannie Yandel talks with author Sharma Shields about her latest novel, "The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac," and what monsters represent for her as a writer and a parent. 

Ms. Marvel designs by Adrian Alphona. Ms. Marvel, described by writer G. Willow Wilson as "kind of a hipster," is the second from the left.
Marvel Comics

G. Willow Wilson’s origin story, in a matter of speaking, started in New Jersey on about 3 acres of land surrounded by old-growth woods, where her parents raised rabbits and chickens and grew corn, blackberries and sweet potatoes.

Marcie Sillman talks to local author Garth Stein about his latest novel "A Sudden Light." Set in a historic estate in Seattle, the novel follows the Riddell family's past and present.   

This story originally aired October 1, 2014.

Author Richard Ford, Livre sur la Place, September 2014.
Flickr Photo/ActuaLitte

Ross Reynolds interviews Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Richard Ford about his new book of novellas, “Let Me Be Frank With You."

It continues the story of Frank Bascombe, which began in Ford's earlier works, "The Sportswriter," "Independence Day" and "Lay of the Land."

  Ross Reynolds speaks with novelist David Mitchell about what he says is the most important book he's done: a translation of a memoir by a young autistic Japanese boy. In the book, "The Reason I Jump," the boy explains the behaviors that may seem strange to outsiders. Mitchell himself has a child with autism. He talks about what he learned from doing the translation.

Wikipedia Photo/Mariusz Kubik

Ross Reynolds speaks with novelist David Mitchell. Paris Review describes his  books, which include "Cloud Atlas", "Black Swan Green" and the newly released "The Bone Clocks," as ambitious, formally complex, imaginatively powerful, and immaculately written. 

Mitchell talks about why he brings back characters in book after book, and how he finds the concentration to write such intricately designed narratives.

The Origins Of American Hipsters

Aug 21, 2014
Justin Martin's book, "Rebel Souls."

Marcie Sillman talks with author Justin Martin about his book, "Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians."

Ross Reynolds talks with Ilan Stavans about his new book, “A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States."

Thinking Like A Freak, Economically Speaking

May 23, 2014
KUOW Photo

Arwen Nicks talks with best selling authors Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner about their most recent book, "Think Like A Freak."

Murray Carpenter's book, "Caffeinated."

Ross Reynolds speaks with journalist Murray Carpenter about his book, “Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us."

The book takes a closer look at the common drug we take for granted on a daily basis.

Doug Fine's book, "Hemp Bound."

Ross Reynolds speaks with Doug Fine, a self-described comedic investigative journalist, about his new book, "Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution."

Fine spoke with scientists and farmers around the world about how hemp is used. In February, President Obama signed the Farm Bill, which allows industrial research on hemp.

Astra Taylor's book, "The People’s Platform."

Ross Reynolds speaks with writer and filmmaker Astra Taylor about how the Internet has become a victim of its own success. She is the author of "The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age."

From Nigeria To Middle America: Optimism Spans Continents In Mengestu's Book

Apr 25, 2014
Dinaw Mengestu's book, "All Our Names."

Steve Scher sits down with 2012 MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and writer Dinaw Mengestu to talk about his newest book, "All Our Names."

Holly George-Warren's book, "A Man Called Destruction."

Ross Reynolds talks with author Holly George-Warren about her new biography of musician Alex Chilton, "A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man."