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Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson

Pulitzer Prize-winner Marilynne Robinson delivers a lecture on the notion of grace, “a word without synonyms, a concept without paraphrase.” From the current state of the publishing industry to her work in academia, Robinson presents a series of thought-provoking contrasts and illuminations.

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Showing KWLS Audio Archives from: Shuffle

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Lee Smith

Lee Smith gave the annual John Hersey Memorial Address to open the second session of the 2008 Seminar. In a talk that was both extremely funny and unexpectedly moving, Smith recounted her development as a writer when, as a young girl, she would write herself into Nancy Drew and Bobsie Twins adventur...

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George Saunders

George Saunders is a fiction writer and essayist noted for his acute sense of satire, outrageous humor, and keenly perceptive observations on contemporary life. In this talk, he recounts his coming of age as a writer and explains how he learned to stop aping his literary idols and begin making use o...

Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams

The great playwright Tennessee Williams produced this recording for the Key West Library in 1971. The fifteen-poem selection includes the never-published ‘The wayward flesh has made me wise…’ and provides a rare opportunity to hear the voice of an American master.

Uzodinma Iweala

Uzodinma Iweala

Uzodinma Iweala reads from a nonfiction work-in-progress about people living with HIV/AIDS in northern Nigeria. Set in and around a rural hospital in northern Nigeria, the excerpt focuses on a young man named Ifanye, and his struggle with “the something” with which he is infected. From 2...

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Panel: Nelson, Nguyen, Ryan, & White

Edmund White, Maggie Nelson, Bich Minh Nguyen, and Patrick Ryan discuss ‘newness’ in authorial voice, using Harold Bloom's idea of ‘the anxiety of influence’ as a starting point. Nguyen's theory of ‘the Asian once-over,’ Ryan's ‘Impostor Syndrome’ and Nelson's notion of "intoxicating...

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Billy Collins

This recording of Billy Collins was made in January of 2003, during his second term as U.S. Poet Laureate. He reads a selection of poems, including "Shoveling Snow With Buddha," "Monday," "Flock," "Creatures," "The Lanyard," "The Country," "Surprise," "No Time," "Love," "Sonnet," "Japan," "Forgetful...

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Meghan O'Rourke

Meghan O’Rourke is a poetry editor at The Paris Review, and a culture critic and advisory editor at Slate. This recording from our 2008 Seminar captures O’Rourke’s crisp and elegant reading of several poems from her first collection, Halflife (2007), including “Peep-Show,R...

Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik is an award-winning American journalist best-known for his work at The New Yorker. The former art critic of the magazine, Gopnik's work encompasses an incredibly broad range of cultural topics and figures. In recent years he has often written about food, the subject of his newes...

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Janna Levin

Pulitzer finalist James Gleick and theoretical physicist-cum-novelist Janna Levin discuss the tensions between science and art evidenced by her novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines. Why stray from the “facts,” Gleick wonders, in telling a story of Alan Turing and Kurt Gödel, two of...

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Richard Wilbur

Richard Wilbur is among the singular poets of our time, the only living poet to have twice won the Pulitzer Prize, and a former Poet Laureate of the United States. In this recording from 2010, Wilbur reads more than two dozen poems and translations, many of which would be published by Harcourt that ...

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Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield was born in New York City and graduated from Princeton University in 1973. She studied Zen for nearly eight years at the San Francisco Zen Center, and has taught at UC Berkeley, Duke University, and Bennington College. She is the author of six books of poetry, as well as the influent...

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Barry Unsworth

In this recording of the 2009 John Hersey Memorial address, Barry Unsworth outlines his thoughts on the nature of truth in works of fiction. On the one hand, argues Unsworth, the novelist must strive for accuracy in relating the historical facts of a period. On the other hand, "the writer of fiction...

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