The New York Public Library Podcast

Playwrights Tarell Alvin McCraney and Donja R. Love stopped by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture earlier this spring. McCraney is the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "Moonlight" and a MacArthur Fellow. Love is an award-winning playwright, poet, and filmmaker from Philadelphia. In a conversation with NYU professor of theatre, Michael D. Dinwiddie, they discussed Black joy, the legacy of queer writers and playwrights and the people in their lives who have influenced their work.

Direct download: 2018.06.19_McCraney_Love_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Until recently, George Saunders  was best known for his short stories and essays. Then his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, won the 2017 Man Booker Prize. Saunders spoke with Paul Holdengräber about the book as well as the broader arc of his life and career, covering everything from comedy to fathers to Buddhism to reporting on Trump rallies.

Direct download: 2018.06.12_Saunders_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Before there was Rikers Island, there was Blackwell's—today known as Roosevelt Island. Historian Stacy Horn's newest book Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York is the first in-depth look at its dark past. In addition to a penitentiary, the small strip of land housed an almshouse, mental institution, and a number of hospitals for the poor—which, as one can imagine, lead to disturbing outcomes for the city's most disenfranchised people. From annual reports of the Women's Prison Association to an unpublished autobiography of a survivor of the NYC draft riots, Horn walks us through some of her findings from the NYPL archives used to write this chilling story, and how it sheds light on the same issues of today.

Direct download: Stacy_Horn_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Kevin Young, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and New Yorker poetry editor, recently published a new collection of poems titled "Brown: Poems." From James Brown to John Brown v. the Topeka Board of Ed., Young meditates on all things "brown" and the ways culture shaped his personal experience growing up in Kansas. Joining him to discuss the book was Claudia Rankine, professor of poetry at Yale University and the author of "Citizen: An American Lyric." Rankine asks Young about his childhood memories, musical influences, and pop culture that makes us dance and think at the same time.

Direct download: Young_Rankine_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Literary icon and friend of The New York Public Library, Tom Wolfe passed away last week at the age of 88. Wolfe became a Library Lion in 1981, and is the author of many books, including The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff.

Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was first released in 1968, chronicling American counterculture. Half a century later, TASCHEN released an abridgment of the text, with photographs and ephemera from the era. Wolfe's last appearance at the Library was this conversation with Paul Holdengräber, which included readings of Wolfe's work by actor René Auberjonois.

Direct download: TomWolfe2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:57pm EDT

Masha Gessen’s book The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia is the winner of the Library’s 2018 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. A defining account of Russia’s post-Soviet era, it asks how the country’s prospects for democracy disappeared under the rule of Vladimir Putin. Taking on a novelistic approach, Gessen wove together the stories of four protagonists born in the last decade of the Soviet Union, earning last year’s National Book Award for Nonfiction. Gessen is a staff writer for The New Yorker and has also been a contributor to The New York Review of Books and the author of several books.

 

Direct download: 2018.05.21_GESSEN_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” is one of Zora Neale Hurston’s most important works of non-fiction that has never been published until today. Hurston recorded the story in Alabama in the late 1920s. It's a collection of interviews with a man named Kossola, also known as Cudjo Lewis, one of the last known living survivors of the Atlantic slave trade. To discuss the book's history and Hurston's legacy, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture welcomed Dr. Cheryl Sterling, Director of the Black Studies Program at City College of New York, to moderate a conversation featring: Hurston scholar and editor of BarracoonDeborah G. Plant; founder of book club Well-Read Black Girl, Glory Edim; and Dr. Sylviane Diouf, an award-winning author and historian of the African Diaspora.

Direct download: Hurston_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Madeline Miller's first novel, The Song of Achilles, transformed The Iliad from a vast impersonal epic into an intimate and poignant love story. Now Miller turns her mind to Homer's other great work, and one of mythology's most riveting figures, in Circe. It's the retelling of The Odyssey in which a fierce young woman is at the center. Madeline Miller discusses her writing process, witchcraft, and why this story resonates today with classicist and translator Emily Wilson, the first woman to translate The Odyssey into English.

Direct download: Miller_Wilson_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Joshua Green's Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising, was one of the first books to shed light on the Trump campaign and Bannon's influence on their way to the White House. A finalist for NYPL's 2018 Helen Berstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, Green stopped by the Library to talk about what it was like to interview the President, what actually motivates his former Chief Strategist and how getting kicked out of the White House doesn't necessarily mean you're out for good.

Direct download: Joshua_Green_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Last December, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3–2 to repeal net neutrality—which left many people wondering "why should we be concerned about the repeal and what can be done about it?" Library President Tony Marx convened a panel of experts to help shed light on the issue including: Susan Crawford,  Professor at Harvard Law School and member of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Broadband Task Force; Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner to the Federal Communications Commission; and Tim Wu, Professor at Columbia Law School who coined the term "net neutrality" over a decade ago. They discussed where things stand now and where we can go from here.

Direct download: 2018.04.24_Net_Neutrality_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT