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Studio 360

Finding the Future in a 2,000 Year Old Poem

Friday, September 30, 2011

An epic poem written more than 2,000 years ago by a Roman named Lucretius may be one of Western culture's most profound examples of art anticipating scientific discovery and modern thought. The poem is called "On the Nature of Things", and it presents all kinds of radical ...

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Studio 360

Harry Potter for Grownups

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lately it seems like you can't pick up a new work of fiction without some character crawling out of the grave or casting a spell. Authors we used call "serious" and "literary" — shorthand for writers who wrote realism — are suddenly writing about the magical and supernatural. Colson Whitehead ...

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Studio 360

Jonathan Franzen

Friday, September 02, 2011

Ever since Jonathan Franzen wowed the literary world with his 2001 novel The Corrections, he's been hailed as the next great American writer. His latest book Freedom, out in paperback later this month, was another roundly praised bestseller. At this point, Franzen makes it look easy ...

Bonus Track: an extended cut of Kurt and Jonathan Franzen's conversation

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Studio 360

Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Financial Story

Friday, August 12, 2011

The sickening ups and downs of the debt ceiling crisis are feeding worries that American politics and the economy are unraveling. For the novelist Gary Shteyngart, it all sounds very familiar: “I’ll turn on the news, I’ll vomit from nervousness and then I’ll wipe my chin and say ‘Oh, you know ...

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Studio 360

Miranda July Sees the Future

Friday, July 29, 2011

Six years ago, the indie film Me and You and Everyone We Know took everyone else by surprise. It was a smart, funny first-time feature by the short story writer and performance artist Miranda July. Her second film, in which she also stars, is called ...

Inside: July performs psychic readings for listeners

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Studio 360

Nicholson Baker's Literary Porn

Friday, July 29, 2011

He’s written books about World War II, poetry, the fate of newspapers. But as a novelist, Nicholson Baker has another side. Back in the 1990s, he published two R-rated works of fiction: Vox (1993) and The Fermata (1995).  Now he’s returning ...

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Studio 360

Novelist Téa Obreht

Friday, June 24, 2011

Téa Obreht is 25 years old, and she’s already received a career’s worth of plaudits for her first novel, The Tiger’s Wife. The novel gained attention for the deftness with which it shifts between realism and fable, and for its sense of deep wisdom about ...

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Studio 360

Elizabeth Wurtzel

Friday, June 03, 2011

One classic reinvention fantasy goes like this: you leave a square, respectable job and write a best-selling book. Elizabeth Wurtzel did just that — but in reverse. She was in her twenties when Prozac Nation made her famous overnight. She became a rock critic and ...

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Studio 360

Alexandra Styron: Reading Her Father

Friday, May 20, 2011

The novelist William Styron has a string of best-sellers to his name – Lie Down in Darkness, published when he was only 26, The Confessions of Nat Turner (which won the Pulitzer), and Sophie’s Choice. But Styron's later years ...

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Studio 360

Arthur Phillips Takes on the Bard

Friday, May 06, 2011

Arthur Phillips set a formidable goal for himself with his new novel, The Tragedy of Arthur. In it, a man named “Arthur Phillips” is given a lost Shakespeare play by his dying father. All the experts think it’s real, except Arthur, who is certain it’s another of his father’s...

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Studio 360

Anne Lamott

Friday, April 29, 2011

Anne Lamott started out as a novelist, but it was her bestselling 1994 nonfiction work Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life that catapulted her to fame as a guru. The book became touchstone and "life-changer" to writers and non-writers looking for practical advice ...

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Studio 360

Jennifer Egan on A Visit from The Goon Squad

Friday, March 18, 2011

Jennifer Egan's novel, A Visit from The Goon Squad, follows a group of music industry types — sleazeball executives, aging rock stars, kleptomanical assistants — jumping forward, backward and sideways in time. Innovative (one chapter, narrated by a child, is written entirely as a PowerPoint presentation) and poignant, ...

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Studio 360

Junot Diaz: Literary Growing Pains

Friday, February 25, 2011

He won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, but Junot Diaz tells Kurt that many of the students he teaches at MIT don't even know that he's a writer. And he likes it that way. "If you want people just to like you," says Diaz, "there's a thousand other careers for that."

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Studio 360

Metaphors Are His Sun, Moon, and Stars

Friday, February 18, 2011

The writer James Geary shows Kurt how metaphors ooze into all corners of our everyday life — mostly without us even realizing it. In his new book, I is an Other, Geary reveals how metaphor influences everything from our politics to our health.

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Studio 360

Eat, Pray, Love, Marry

Friday, February 11, 2011

When Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love, a witty account of her globe-hopping, soul-searching journey after a divorce, she never imagined that Julia Roberts would be playing her in a movie adaptation.

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Studio 360

A Novelist's Take on the Arizona Tragedy

Friday, January 14, 2011

As events unfolded in Arizona this week, novelist Walter Kirn turned to Twitter to express what he was seeing and feeling. Kirn tells Kurt he fears that our digital world is breeding characters who are unhinged from reality.

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Studio 360

Salman Rushdie

Friday, November 19, 2010

When it came to writing his new children's book, Luka and the Fire of Life, the novelist Salman Rushdie stuck with his attraction to moody themes. "I've always liked writing that slightly writes against the grain of what it's supposed to be doing," he tells Kurt. ...

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Studio 360

Bonus Audio: Luka and the Fire of Life

Friday, November 19, 2010

Salman Rushdie reads from his new book.

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Studio 360

Israeli Pulp

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Israeli writer Gadi Taub is doing his best to bring the spirit of James Ellroy to the Middle East. Taub's edgy crime novel, Allenby Street, is set in a seedy Tel Aviv nightclub, and it shocked and disturbed Israeli readers when it came out last year. Produced ...

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Studio 360

James Ellroy: Demon Dog of Crime Fiction

Friday, November 12, 2010

The man behind L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia has amassed a cult following and a reputation as the best modern noir writer around. His new book, The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women, is a memoir. Kurt talked with James Ellroy ...

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