This special program recognizes the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the character of New York City. It will air on Saturday, September 10th, at 10:00pm on WNYC FM 93.9, and again on Sunday, September 11th, at 1:00pm on WNYC AM 820.
Colson Whitehead’s essay “Lost and Found” was originally published in The New York Times Magazine on November 11, 2001 — one of a series of special commissions asking writers to celebrate the city in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. For this program, we offer Whitehead’s essay in a touching reading by Alec Baldwin, paired with an arresting story by the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, “U.F.O. in Kushiro,” read by Ken Leung.
Whitehead is the author of the novels Sag Harbor and The Intuitionist, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award; John Henry Days, which won the Young Lions Fiction Award, the Anisfeld-Wolf Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; as well as Apex Hides the Hurt, a New York Times Notable Book. His latest book, Zone One: A Novel, will also be out in October.
“Lost and Found,” was subsequently published in his collection of essays about his hometown, The Colossus of New York. Whitehead is the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award and a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Brooklyn.
The program includes some comments by Whitehead on the composing of his essay. SHORTS literary commentator Hannah Tinti notes that this native New Yorker was perfectly placed to put unimaginable events in the context of memory, loss, and recovery, while program host Isaiah Sheffer, musing on a tragic and iconic moment in the city’s history, was reminded of Wordsworth’s tribute to a sleeping London, “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802,” which, he says, conjures up, “early morning in New York before the traffic starts.”
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Haruki Murakami was born in 1949 in Kyoto and lives outside of Tokyo. His many celebrated short stories chronicle the joys and woes of Japanese yuppies, and are colored by the shadow of Hiroshima, though his fiction does not specifically reference that event. Since writing “UFO in Kushiro,” Murakami has produced four novels. His latest, IQ84, will be released in the USA this October.
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